So! Apparently it’s been more than a fortnight since I last posted anything on my blog. And no, I didn’t purposely wait for two weeks so I could use the word fortnight on my opening line. I was just… really lazy. And almost worryingly absentminded. I kept meaning to brainstorm a new blog post but whenever the thought occurred to me, I’d immediately get distracted with something else. And here I was congratulating myself last month for being really active on my book blog. Didn’t realize I’d slide back to my old habits immediately after.
That being said, last week I was able to at least come up with two blog post ideas that I’ve vaguely considered for a while now. One is a personal post – a homage, really – to my love for notebooks and journaling while the other is, as of writing this, a messy rant about a certain YA fantasy book that really disappointed me last year. I fully intended on just forgetting that book for the rest of my days but its absolutely absurd ending (and implications) kept hounding me. So naturally the only way to free myself from it is to pick it apart in a detailed blog post.
While I’ve already outlined both future posts – the book rant-y one even has a messy intro – I didn’t spend enough time and energy on actually writing them so I wasn’t able to finish them by the end of last week. Now I’ve had my heart set on posting something, anything, on my blog this week so I’ve resorted to writing something that I’m confident I can churn out without too much fuss: a book haul.
I blinked and already it’s the middle of the year. I don’t know what I did for the past six months but I’m sure it was nothing worthwhile.
Anyway. It’s been about a month since I wrote an Epistolary post and although my life is still the same mind-numbing bore that it was in the 4th post, I suppose I can dredge up a couple of things to talk about here. Naturally, this post is going to talk about three things that I love: books, writing, and dogs.
Hey y’all! I initially planned on posting a Book Talk regarding Three Dark Crowns this week but a couple of things got in the way. Mainly, my health. It’s nothing too serious, just a bit of a nuisance at this point, really.
I had like 30% of the first draft of my Book Talk all typed up but I knew that if I really pushed for publishing it this week, it’d be too sloppy and meandering (more than my Brand permits). So… Next week it is then. However, I didn’t want another week to pass without me posting anything on my blog so I was over the moon when Camillea @CamilleaReads posted this and introduced me to this lovely prompt/meme by Charvi @ItsNotJustFiction.
In Charvi’s own words, Off Tangent Thoughts is “a bi-monthly meme that has a basic list-based format wherein bloggers express their points in the form of a short or long list with the points under the list being merely a couple lines or even complete paragraphs.” As someone who is constantly struggling not to go off tangent whenever I write a post, this prompt is a great opportunity for me to just write whatever. Plus, this Saturday’s prompt is all about organizing books on your bookshelf and… well, let’s just say I have more than enough thoughts on that particular topic.
Wow. I haven’t written one of these in a while. And by a while I mean literally not since last year. Somehow every time the idea of writing an Epistolary post pops up in my mind, another, more topical idea elbows its way to the front. Speaking of, I actually still need to write a Sequel Sunday for The Heart Forger…
But not just yet.
Since it’s the first day of the month, I figured that I should at least try to start it off right. And what better way to do that than by reviewing the first two months of the year in a loose and casual personal post. It’s weird because 2019 so far feels like it’s gone on for much longer than two months but at the same time like not much time has passed at all. A real paradox, I say.
Although I’ve been a self-proclaimed book reviewer for nearly a decade now, if there was ever a story element that I shied away from as much as possible, it’s themes. And with good reason. Themes are intangible and vague, requiring in-depth analysis to figure out, especially on a long-form story like a novel. For me, if a book is good, it’s good; I’ll leave the theme analysis to people more capable than me. The more concrete story elements like character and plot are more of my jam.
Of course, now that I know better, I realize you can’t actually treat individual story elements without touching upon the theme at all. In fact, story elements don’t exist separately from one another. They’re all interconnected, they’re all related and defined by all the others. The theme just so happens to be the one element that’s more pervasive and subtle than the rest. It weaves the whole story together, makes the sequence of scenes, dialogue, and conflict have some higher meaning.
I didn’t quite understand just how important the theme was until I read a Megan Crewe’s Ruthless Magic, a book that failed at communicating its theme at the most basic level despite having all the necessary tools at its disposal.
Summary: Each year, the North American Confederation of Mages assesses every sixteen-year-old novice. Some will be chosen. The rest must undergo a procedure to destroy their magical ability unless they prove themselves in the mysterious and brutal Mages’ Exam.
Disadvantaged by her parents’ low standing, Rocío Lopez has dedicated herself to expanding her considerable talent to earn a place in the Confederation. Their rejection leaves her reeling—and determined to fight to keep her magic. Long ashamed of his mediocre abilities, Finn Lockwood knows the Confederation accepted him only because of his prominent family. Declaring for the Exam instead means a chance to confirm his true worth. Thrown into the testing with little preparation, Rocío and Finn find themselves becoming unlikely allies—and possibly more. But the Exam holds secrets more horrifying than either could have imagined. What are the examiners really testing them for? And as the trials become increasingly vicious, how much are they willing to sacrifice to win? [blurb taken from GoodReads]
It’s a few days into 2019 and I’m still trying to cross out a few of my 2018 to-do’s because that’s just how I roll. Time management? Don’t know her.
Obviously, I meant to have this up before the new year but for reasons unbeknownst even to myself, I wasn’t able to start working on this post until the day after the first day of 2019. I had a rough outline scribbled somewhere in my little notebook about a week or so ago but I didn’t bother typing it down until much later. Oof.
Anyway. I read 100 books last year and, although there were a couple of bumps in the road, I mostly enjoyed the books listed in my Reading Challenge. Some I enjoyed better than others but, for the most part, 2018 was a good year of reading for me. I started reading a lot of series/trilogies, a couple of non-fiction books, and new titles from debut authors.
Interestingly enough, I hadn’t noticed how often I reached for fantasy and high fantasy books until I looked back into my reading list. To be honest, making this list was a bit tricky because my genres weren’t as varied as I’d like. I couldn’t really include that many categories because most of the time it would turn out that I hadn’t really read that many books in a certain genre for them to count as a category. In some genres like horror and thriller, I hadn’t even read more than three books of the genre. It’s strange because horror and thriller used to be my favorite genres when I was a kid. Now I’m more into magic and stuff.
So, yeah, the categories on this Reading Challenge highlights is going to be a little paltry but whatever.
Normally, my end of the year wrap-up post would have such a sappy title. More often than not, I’d just choose a couple of photos of the year’s highlights, write a short description, and call it a day. This year, however, I want it to be different. I think we can all agree that 2018 was, well, bad. For a lot of people. Locally. Nationally. Internationally. The year really put us all through the wringer, y’know?
I forced myself to title my year-ender post a sentimental 2018 Silver Linings to look at the bright side of the shit show that was this year, to comfort myself, if only just briefly, in believing that things weren’t all bad this year, couldn’t have been all bad. I owe it to myself to not focus too much on the negative all the time and what better time to be optimistic than on New Year’s Eve?
So. Here it is. Around two thousand words of me looking at the bright side of 2018. I actually surprised myself a few times. I nearly forgot that I did quite a number of things this year that can be considered as, dare I say it, accomplishments. Wild.