Bookish Posts

Why You Should Be A Picky Reader (and How)

Do you constantly find yourself wasting time choosing what to read next instead of actually reading? Does your TBR shelf make you dizzy? Too many books on your bookshelf, too many ARCs and new releases to catch up with????

Here’s my solution : BE PICKY!

Reading requires some amount of time commitment. As much as we wish to spend hours and hours poring over our current reads, there’s just too many things getting in the way. Whether we have kids, jobs, school…it’s just not as easy to carve out some reading time in our already-crammed days, which is why I think everyone should be picky as to what to read. 

I’m a picky reader. I only read books that I feel like I’d enjoy. Because of this, most of my reads in 2017 have been 5 or 4 stars. Here’s this year’s rating statistics :

As you can see, most of the books I’ve read are 5 stars!

Accept the fact that you won’t be able to get to all the books you want to read. There’ll be too many new releases that catch your eye and too many books from the last few years that you hadn’t caught up with. It seems like us bookworms are always latching onto the hope of reading all past and upcoming releases. Hype plays a big factor in adding to the ever-flowing TBR shelf. Books that you hadn’t even found interesting start getting 5-stars in your Goodreads feed or Twitter timeline and suddenly they become must-reads.

Adding 10 books per day to your TBR is all part of being a bookworm. I can’t help you with that since I’m guilty of it as well. But this leads us to the next point :

Too many books, too little time!

Seriously, ask yourselves: Why waste time on something you’re skeptical about when you can get to your most anticipated reads instead. Decide what type of books you want to focus on.

  • Diverse reads should be a priority. I hope people don’t hop in my mentions claiming that I have no right telling them what to read. It’s no secret that the publishing industry is sorely lacking in diversity. And it’s no secret that there are many harmful, problematic books being published out there. Reading Diversely and prioritizing #OwnVoices books isn’t just about enriching your knowledge and awareness, it’s also about supporting proper representation of the minority and boosting marginalized authors.
  • Find yourself losing interest in Paranormal romance, Contemporary or YA books as a whole?  Then drop them. Read the genre of books that you’ve grown fond of. Sick of love-triangles and insta-love or protagonists that are ‘not like other girls’?? Then stop reading books with all those tropes. That leads as to the next point:

How else are you going to save yourself from wasting precious time on your most hated trope? How else would you know whether a book is for you?

  • Personally, unless I’m a 100% mesmerized by a synopsis, I’ll always read reviews before getting a book. I want to know whether the synopsis really summarizes it’s premise, whether the writing is good or bearable, whether I might like that book or not. Also….(here’s where you grasp just how picky I really am)….I read status updates of some upcoming releases to decide if they should be on my TBR. If you don’t know that feature on Goodreads, I’ll be enlightening you in my next discussion post *wink wink*
  • If I hear that a book is harmful and problematic, it’s automatically removed from my Goodreads shelf. I have no interest supporting it by purchasing it. There are too many books out there I’m waiting to read; I’m not about to read a potentially harmful books just to ‘offer my own opinion’. It’s enough to hear the opinions of those who share the marginalization represented in the books. 

Setting goals is another way to be a picky reader.

  • You might want to venture into non-fiction, Middle grade or Adult Fantasy. You might want to read at least five classics this year, you might want to finish a series in the next few days. Whatever your reading goal, sticking to it is important. What I personally do is afix certain books for a certain month. I know it might sound ridiculous but it really works for me. This is my current Goodreads shelf :

This is not set in stone; I can remove or add books and I can replace it with something I want to read instead. I always start with 10 books each month and I read as much as I can. I transfer the rest to the next month.

The important thing is that I have already decided what to read and that makes my TBR more manageable, it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed.

I hope you find these tips helpful!! Let me know down below what you thought 😀

Bookish Posts

2017 Reading Challenges & Goals

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This is a challenge hosted by Alexa@ AlexaLovesBooks and Rachel@Hello,Chelly. The challenge is to read as much fantasy books as you can throughout the year. There’ll be some giveaways and you can earn a point by reading some books listed on the above links. For more information, please check one of the above links.

 

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This year I’ve decided to cut down on the contemporaries and focus on fantasy books instead. There are some contemporary books that I’m excited for and will be reading, but for the most part, I don’t feel like reading contemporaries. If I decide to read a contemporary novel, it’d have to be a diverse one.

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(Click on images/covers to add on Goodreads)

I’ve already read The fellowship of the ring and I’ve read the first books of The Lies of Locke Lamora. Aside from that, I have a lot to read in the adult fantasy section.

 

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There are so many great books out there that I haven’t read and this year, I’ll be catching up with some of the more hyped ones.

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(Click on images/covers to add on Goodreads)

Yes, I haven’t read An Ember in the ashes and The wrath & the dawn. I know…

 

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This is a challenge hosted by Naz @ Read Diverse Books. There are no strict rules; you read as much diverse books as you can throughout the year. There are badges to earn and prizes to win. The host will provide a list of diverse books if you need any recommendations. For further information, please check out the blog: readdiversebooks.com

 


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If you’ve seen my NaNoWriMo post, you know that I have an idea for a fantasy novel that has brewing for quite a while. I had been so excited to write 50,000 words of it during November but ultimately ended up writing only 10K. I need to develop discipline when it comes to writing and that’s why I plan to:

checkbook-clipart-check-mdWrite 3,000 words per week

checkbook-clipart-check-mdRead 1 book each month for research on novel

checkbook-clipart-check-mdWrite 4 blog posts per week

checkbook-clipart-check-mdRead  1 reference book on writing per month


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checkbook-clipart-check-mdRead at least 50 Adult Fantasy books

checkbook-clipart-check-mdRead 3 books per week

checkbook-clipart-check-mdRead much more diversely

checkbook-clipart-check-mdWrite better, more organized reviews

checkbook-clipart-check-mdParticipate in more memes/blog tours/ tags

checkbook-clipart-check-mdHost Giveaways

checkbook-clipart-check-mdPost on blog more regularly

checkbook-clipart-check-mdFollow more book blogs

checkbook-clipart-check-mdRead & comment on at least 5 blog posts before sleep


Let me know which books I need to get to first as my TBR is overflowing. Also, what are your reading goals for 2017? How many books are you planning to read? I’m personally feeling very optimistic about this year 😀 

Bookish Posts

Resources For NaNoWriMo

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With literally three days left for the start of NaNoWriMo 2016, you might think it’s too late for prep. But the resources I’m listing here are ones that can help you during the writing month- whether you’re stuck, need inspiration or simply need something to make the process easier for you.  In fact, you can very well use most of these things for any type of writing endeavor, not just NaNoWriMo.

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This a free-to-download spreadsheet by Jodotha from the NaNoWriMo community. This one is a very useful tool that everyone should be using. You can set your daily goal and it tracks your progress throughout the month. It has many other features like calculating your average speed/hours and projected finish date based on your progress. You can download it HERE.

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This site has literally EVERYTHING a writer could possibly need. It helps you on every single aspect of writing. Have trouble with your dialogues, with world-building or plotting? Stop by this site and get all the help you need. My most favorite feature from this site is the tons of worksheets (for plots, scenes, characters) and printables made to make your writing easier. The printables even include NaNoWriMo planners, like the one below.

                 nanowrimo_notebook         creative_writing_worksheet

 

 

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Another infinitely useful resource is Write World. It provides inspiration and prompts, but the most important thing it offers is the Word Lists section. This section helps with your grammar and overall writing skills. I highly recommend you check it out for a moment. You’ll learn so much in under a few minutes, believe me. Some of the posts I’ve seen and found useful are: alternatives for commonly used words, things writers need to know (like the difference between road, street, avenue, drive…). You find information on things you never knew were important.

 

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Honestly, I don’t even know where I found this. Somehow I ended up here and then I just couldn’t stop generating a bunch of descriptions. The Character Description Generator is a really useful feature. I personally have figured out everything about my characters, but if any of you are looking for a bit of inspiration on your characters’ characteristics and features (other than Pinterest obviously), this would really help, especially fantasy characters.

 

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Brandon Sanderson is a #1 New York bestselling author, mostly known for his Mistborn series. I’m sure many of you know of him already. There are a bunch of videos on YouTube from his lectures in a writing class uploaded by Camera Panda. They’re free and professionally recorded to Sanderson’s knowledge. The class is mostly for Fantasy and Sci-fi writers, but really it helps for any kind of writer, as he said so himself. I’ve been watching plenty of them lately and it really inspires me to write whenever I’m stuck. I’ll be watching them throughout NaNoWriMo. Check the videos out.

 

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There are a lot of NaNoWriMo vloggers out there who put out videos daily throughout the writing month, updating with their progress. I’ve watched a bunch of vlogs from last year and it got me so excited and ready to start writing. One of the best things about NaNoWriMo is the community after all and watching others going through this challenge motivates you, helps you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. If you’re ever stuck, or if you need a slight push, check out the vloggers. Some of my favorite ones are:

Elisabeth Writes

Riley Marie

Katytastic Vlogs

Kristina Horner

 

 

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Do you use any of these? Are there other helpful resources you know would be helpful for NaNoWriMo participants? Let me know your thoughts down below 😀

Bookish Posts

Beautiful Books 2016 – My NaNoWriMo Novel

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This will be the first year that I will be doing NaNoWriMo. And the first time I’ll be joining Cait and Sky in their annual linkup, Beautiful Books. If you want more information on this linkup or on NaNoWriMo, head on over to the lovely bloggers’ blogs.

Although this is my first time doing NaNoWriMo, I’ve actually attempted to write many novels before this (Keyword: attempted). The story idea I have now though is one I’m most serious about and that’s why I’m more motivated than ever to write 50,000 words this November. I have done most of the outlining,  but I still have a lot more to plan. I have only 7 days for prepping and I’m officially freaking out but still kinda excited.

 

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I didn’t come up with the idea at once. I knew I wanted to write a novel centered around Ethiopian Mythology because, although I live in the U.S, I am an Ethiopian. I know a lot about the diverse culture, about its history and the many folktales; and I am in love with it all so I wanted to incorporate all that to possibly bring a new light in the way people view Africa. Aside from that, I’ve also always wanted to find books that delve into Social Anxiety Disorder and there aren’t many; since I have it myself, I thought I could touch upon it through my protagonist.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

The story is set in Abyssinia, a nation ruled by a queen who is heavily influenced into tyranny by a handful of enchanters that have infiltrated the court. Everything is rigged into benefiting the nobles, and as a result, common people are left barely making ends meet. In the midst of it all is Salem, a merchant’s daughter, who’s terrible at working for the family shop. She constantly makes mistakes and ends up losing them a lot of money. Her dream is to be able to afford education at the local women’s school so she could work in the scholarly city, Elam, and sustain her family. But with the harsh conditions and with her non-existent trade skills, it seems impossible.

So when she gets the opportunity in the form of the grumpy, blunt Ezana, she makes a deal with him and they set off to Berhan to meet one of the native enchanters- Salem to possibly bribe them into turning up her family’s luck a notch and Ezana…for undecipherable reasons. During their journey, they get tangled up with the paths of Abel– the erratic restless thief with a pet fox, Kaleb- a Budda ( a mythological human who can curse anyone with merely a glance) and Kaleb’s older sister who is more Abel’s partner-in-crime than a responsible sibling. You have a motley crew, each with incentives and goals of their own to pursue the most feared part of the land, on an adventure that promises curses and thieves and rebels and mythological creatures.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

 

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4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

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SALEM

  • 18-years old
  • Abyssinian; big curly hair; short and  skinny stature
  • Has social anxiety
  • Very responsible and thoughtful, but overly stubborn
  • Lives in Merkato (market town of Abyssinia
  • Comes from merchant family
  • Loves honey wine more than anything

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ABEL

  • 19-year old
  • Abyssinian; tall & almost elf-like
  • Notorious thief from Semien, Abyssinia
  • Erratic, mischievous, restless and infuriating
  • Has a pet fox (as is common in Semien)
  • Constantly on the run bc wanted at many cities (including home)

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EZANA

  • 18- year old
  • Aidhan; green-eyed & has permanent frown
  • Calculating, cold and a bit arrogant
  • Comes from a noble family of foreign descent
  • Bears a lot of responsibility with family’s legacy

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KALEB

  • 16 year old
  • Half-Abyssinian and Half- Eluhanian; brown, curly & unruly hair
  • Loyal, calm & composed, too mature for his age
  • Takes care of older sister
  • Is a Budda– inherently has “the evil eye” so can unwillingly curse ppl with his gaze
  • Wears something around his neck to suppress his ability

 

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

For this novel, I outlined. Although I’m not finished, I have a lot done in the aspects of world-building and characters. So far I know most of what happens but I haven’t finished plotting- honestly it’s the worst part for me. I researched a whole lot…mostly for the mythology and culture; even the names took me long to choose. And then of course there is Pinterest!! I go on there almost everyday; it’s where I get my inspiration and it’s where I got all of these pics.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I’m looking forward to writing interactions between the characters and just fleshing out their personalities more as I go. Characters are my favorite aspect of both reading and writing.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

Fantasy, Ethiopian Mythology, enchantments/curses

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Salem’s initial goal is to help her family earn a good living and to be able to afford school so she can be educated, but it later evolves into something else. Her social anxiety stands in the way of her being successful in her family business. But all in all, the group of enchanters at the nation capital influencing the court are the major threats as their influence brought about the harsh living conditions.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Salem learns a handful of things throughout- she discovers a lot about herself and she learns a lot from her companions.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

The theme of this book is friendship and camaraderie, it’s about choices and identities, most of all it’s about self-acceptance and self-respect. At the end of this novel, I want readers to have fallen in love with the characters, to have sympathized and laughed and cried along. 

 

Bookish Posts

Bookish Items You Didn’t Know You Needed

 

reading position

Do any of these reading positions look familiar?

Reading can be a real pain sometimes. Literally. Have you guys heard of the Book Pain Syndrome? Yep, I bet you have…and have you guys been able to find a solution for it? Because lord knows I haven’t. I have been recycling a bunch of reading positions forever, trying to find one that’s comfortable enough.

 

But what if there were easier ways?

 

There are so many ridiculous but effective solutions out there. Like this “Egg Cuber”

egg cuber

and even more absurd stuff you could never imagine. You can check out this video for a whole bunch of “Butter Gadgets” :

Don’t ask how I found this video (I was sucked into the You Tube vortex of no comeback). The main point is it piqued my interest, and of course it had me wondering were there such items for us bookish people as well? And the search began…(and resulted in mostly self-indulgent bookish items, but some that are actually useful too…)

 

Here are some Bookish Items You Didn’t Realize You Needed:

 

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prism glass

The Prism Glass is a glass that enables you to lie down on your back while watching TV or reading a book. Can you imagine? No more back pains and no more fumbling around for a comfortable reading position. You can get this item easily online. Here are the links:

Amazon logo     jet 1

 

 

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book restYou can easily place them on your lap so that you can read, or you can place it on any

other surface to read while doing something else. Wanna read while cooking? While brushing your teeth? (If people actually do that) Then these might be perfect for you.

 

Amazon logo   etsy-logo   jet 1

 

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tranparentDo you ever get tired of holding a book open? That’s one of the biggest nuisances of reading a book, and one of the reasons I had once switched to reading ebooks. But ebooks aren’t really fun for me. The reading experience is much better with the real thing in your hands; which is why this item is a savior.

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bed rest

I don’t know about you guys, but when I read, I read on my bed. And this would make it a thousand times easier for me. You have a cup holder, an overhead light and a comfortable head rest. What more could you need?

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book safe

I don’t if people would actually need this, but frankly, how cool is this? You can pop this safe anywhere in-between your other books on your shelf and no one will even notice it. Best type of diversion safe if you ask me.

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book light

When I was a kid, my parents used to make me stop reading and go to bed. (Parents, why would you ever stop your kids from reading?) So I would comply only until they go to bed themselves and then I grab my tablet and read inside the covers, disappointed that I can’t read a real book in the dark. If I had known book lights existed, I would’ve bought one indeed.

Amazon logo  jet 1

 

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book skirt

Ok, this one is purely self-indulgent. But seriously,how cute is this? You can find a bunch of other skirts like this on Etsy.

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There are a lot more bookish stuff out there. Are there some that you’ve caved and bought? Any I should’ve included? Let me know down below.