Look who’s back from being gone! I feel like hugging my blog and apologizing OVER and OVER again. Yes I’ve been busy, I’ve had tons of deadlines and have exams to prepare for, but I haven’t been THAT busy that I have no time for myself at all. So I’ve been thinking on this, and I realized that when I do take a break from studying and have some time for myself I don’t always feel like blogging. And I guess this is the biggest problem I’ve had since I started university one and a half year ago… Especially during busier periods.
What’s my Problem
The main problem is that when I’ve been really busy with university and I have some time off I tend to not grab my laptop and write blog posts. Instead I let myself fall on the couch and turn on the tv (*cough* Netflix *cough*) or I grab a book and read a bit. Which is not too bad… If I’d end up reviewing the book. But I don’t. And I don’t know exactly why I don’t, but it probably has to do with the fact that I’ll need to focus in order to do so, and when I’m tired I don’t WANT to focus.
Break the Circle
In between studying and working out, I can be so incredibly tired, that I in my free time I just want to lie down and not do anything at all. The worst of all is because I have enough to read for my study, that I don’t feel like reading other books. It’s just one big circle that keeps going round… and you have no idea how badly I’d like to break it.
But the question is how am I going to break it? I don’t think scheduled time to blog will help me. If I’m going to force it I am going to lose my joy in blogging. Because that’s something I still have, I love blogging, I just have problems grabbing my laptop (once I get going I’m unstoppable). I’m probably lazy… Nothing probably, I’m lazy.
That’s where you come in! Tell me, do you have the same problem? And if you do, how do you deal with it? Is there a way to deal with it. I want to get back to blogging regularly so badly, but every time studying gets a little hectic my blog takes a MAJOR backseat. I know I’m not the only one struggling with this, what I’d like to know is how do YOU deal with it (help me out please!).
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on September 10th 2013
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
A few days ago my secret sister asked me if I had read Fangirl yet. She’d browsed my Goodreads profile, and found Rainbow Rowell’s other books marked read, but Fangirl painfully empty. And to my surprise (and growing horror), I realized she was right. Which just isn’t right, because Fangirl is EVERYTHING and means the world to me. I read Fangirl at precisely the right time. It was exactly the kind of read I needed at that time, relayed a beautiful message like a punch in the gut, and because of that it has secured a solid spot in my heart.
Now there’s literally TONS of great reviews out there, and I don’t think I have anything to say that hasn’t been said before. Therefore, this is going to be a slightly different review than what you’re used to seeing here on my blog. It’s going to be me telling you about why Fangirl had such a huge impact on me.
What was going on in my life?
When I read Fangirl I had just about finished high-school. My high-school diploma almost in my pocket, I’d gotten the green light from the university of my choice to start my dream study the next year, that sounds like I had it all figured out doesn’t it? Truth was: I was excited but also incredibly intimidated and more than a little scared for what was to come. I would have to move out, because traveling 1 hour and a half to university (and back) every single day just wouldn’t work out. So a strange city, where I didn’t know anyone. That’s bound to be scary for everyone, but internally I was freaking out BIG TIME.
What Fangirl did for me
So I did what I always do when I start freaking out: I read. I picked Fangirl and Cath’s socially awkward personality turned out to be exactly what I needed. She was just as geeky and passionate about books as I am and definitely more socially awkward than I am. And I know that it’s a piece of fiction, but I figured that if she could come out stronger then so could I. I also realized that there were a lot of others probably feeling the same way I did. No one likes change, that’s a given, but it’s also the only way we can challenge ourselves. Change can keep you on your toes, and LOTS of good things can come from it.
So I told myself to suck it up. That first day was nerve-wrecking, but I managed to open myself to the whole experience and now (almost one and a half year later) I am completely settled. I made some great new friends, joined a running association and am very very happy with how my life looks right now.
Sometimes you just need a little nudge in the right direction. Fangirl, without a doubt, was that nudge for me. It was the right read at exactly the right time. Cath’s beautiful and touching story was my wake-up call and for that reason alone Fangirl will always have a special place in my heart (it also helps that besides that the book is just 100% pure awesomeness).
So there you go, my slightly different than normal review of Fangirl. Now there’s just one thing left that I’d like to ask you:
Do YOU have a specific book that did what Fangirl did for me?
A few months ago I had NEVER read a graphic novel or a comic. I had been curious for a while, wanted to try my hand at them, but was incredibly intimidated with the vast amount of titles out there. So I asked around in the blogging community for recommendations, googled things like ‘where to start if you want to read graphic novels’ and here we are, a few months later. I think I might’ve developed a slight addiction, because right now I’ve already gone through Saga volume 1 to 5, The Wicked + The Divine volume 1 and 2, Ms. Marvel volume 1, I’m halfway through Nimona and I have the first volume of Lumberjanes lined up for when I’ve finished that.
Whoever thought it was a good idea for me to start reading graphic novels and comics clearly wasn’t thinking about my poor wallet. Although I am pretty sure that person was me… Whoops. I did get a few for my birthday though! So I didn’t pay for them all by myself, haha.
Like I said, I started with Saga. And I’ll be honest with you, it took me a little while to get into. The problem wasn’t in the story though, no, it had more to do with the fact that I am used to books. Graphic novels are REALLY different from books. I mean, yes there’s a story going on, but instead of surroundings being described there’s an actual visual and there’s only a little dialogue to actually read. Now this might seem a bit silly and super obvious (and it is) but I didn’t fully realize that UNTIL I was actually reading it and I had a little trouble adapting to that. Something else that I didn’t really think about was the length of the story and the time it would take me to finish it. I mean, one book takes hours and I finished Saga volume 1 in under an hour! If you think about it, that really is no time at all…
So what made me push through? First of all, ALL the people that recommended Saga to me. I mean there were just so many people that told me I should start with Saga, and I figured that they must’ve recommend it for a reason.Second of all, the story was interesting. When I realized I was having a bit of trouble and started to think what the cause of that could be, I almost immediately realized that the story-line wasn’t the problem at all. It really was the form in which the story was told. Once I got to that point it was really easy to just keep going. After I had finished the first volume I was intrigued enough to try the second volume as well, and well, the rest is history. Before I knew it I am where I am at now: an ever growing collection of graphic novels on my shelves.
Now, what is that made me fall in love (read: addiction) so fast? Well, in a way, graphic novels really are like books. Both tell a story, just in a different form, and once I got used to that I was a goner. Because let’s be honest: the stories are EPIC. Also, the amount of time it takes me to finish one volume (another thing that I really had to get used to) is actually quite ideal. I am in my second year of university and I am quite busy with all that comes with it. I don’t always have the time to read for long periods of time. I love binge-reading, but with how busy I am that just isn’t always realistic. I can binge-read one volume though! Because it takes me less time to finish I can just read the whole thing in one sitting. I don’t have to stop reading when I’m halfway in and completely emerged into the story to study or do my homework because most just don’t take that long to finish. It’s perfect! Another HUGE perk is the illustrations: they are just beautiful works of art. I enjoy the illustrations so much, it’s so damn pretty to look at. My absolute favourite at the moment is The Wicked + The Divine, those illustrations are TO DIE FOR.
I really developed an addiction in no time and I have only my damn curiosity to blame! (not that I would have it any other way). I dived straight in, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be coming up for air anytime soon.
Tell me, do you read Graphic Novels? What was your experience?
I cannot believe it is October already! September just FLEW BY. It was a good month though. September marked the end of summer, and I am so happy to get back to a regular schedule, 3 months of doing nothing was getting incredibly boring… Also, September 20th was my 21th birthday. I got to review Rae Carson’s awesome new book, and I participated in quite some running events (see below), and I joined a running association (see below)! As if that wasn’t enough, my first month of university is behind me already, and that means that in two weeks midterms will come knocking at my door. I’ve been feeling great, it’s amazing what working out regularly and maintaining a healthier lifestyle can do for you! Let’s hope October will be just as much fun!
Like I said, September was CRAZY. I ran the Strong Sister Run, a 7k obstacle run. It was a very muddy experience (guess which of the two pictures is of me at the finish haha), but soooo much fun! I’m definitely going to run this one again. It was challenging, as I’m used to running on flat surfaces, but that’s definitely a big part of the attraction. I also participated in The Color Run, a very VERY colourful experience and also my mom’s first 5k event. I’m so incredibly proud of her, she’s worked so hard for this and she absolutely aced it!
- I joined a running association. Yes I did! I’m not going to lie, it was nerve-wracking. I’d been wanting to join for the longest time, and this month (with a little pep-talk from a close friend) I realized I had been procrastinating long enough. I was afraid of actually taking the step and going over there to join a training… something about not knowing anyone. I realized that it was a okay to be scared, but NOT okay to let that fear direct my actions. Turns out I had absolutely nothing to worry about! The members are great, it’s a fun group and I had so much fun at the training, so I joined.
- September 26th: I celebrated my birthday. On 20 September I turned ‘the big’ 21, and I celebrated it a week later. I’ve been spoiled beyond belief (I have the sweetest friends and family) and I still get a smile on my face when I think back to the day. I completely forgot to take pictures, which is kinda sad, but then again I have some wonderful memories about this day, so I don’t really care that much. We ended the day by roasting marshmallows above the fire we started outside. It was perfect.
- University is keeping me busy, and so I’ve had little time to read. Well, reading for pleasure I mean. I’ve read quite a lot of books for my literature classes, but unfortunately I haven’t really been able to finish any of my books. I’m still halfway in The Fill-in Boyfriend and have still only read ONE CHAPTER of Queen of Shadows, which guts me. I’ve also only managed to read a few pages of Nimona, and so far it’s awesome and witty!
- Just random, unplanned, spontaneous meet-ups with friends. Going out for lunch or just drinking a cup of coffee together, I missed that SO MUCH during the vacation. It might seem small, but it means the world to me.
On the one hand I’ve been slacking, but on the other hand I’m not at all. Confession: I haven’t been doing my full three BBG workouts every week… More like two every week *guilty as charged* and I am hoping to change this back to the regular 3 workouts again in October. However, I’ve been running more than normal, and my training had improved considerably now I joined the running association. I used to just run a certain distance and try to improve, but now I do Interval training every Thursday (which is SO DAMN TIRING). The fun thing is that I can slowly feel myself improving! And training with a group is so much more fun AND motivating then going running all on your own.
So a little setback with the BBG workouts. I’ve promised myself that next week I’ll go back to normal again. But I’ve been doing way better with running, yay! AND I’ve managed to maintain the healthy food. Doesn’t mean I don’t treat myself every once in a while (I might have tried out the Tony Chocolonely’s new Popcorn Discodip: it was bliss), but I’ve been eating foods that support my active lifestyle. I love my oats or Greek yoghurt in the morning, and I’ve found some recipes that are so damn yummy (I might share them later on!). So overall I’m thinking September was a pretty damn great month!
- October 3rd: Leidens Ontzet. This is a BIG celebration in the city I study in, they’ve been slowly building everything up for the past week and I’m really excited to explore the city with a friend. Last year was a blast: the biggest carnival I’ve ever seen and something happening literally ANYWHERE in the city.
- I briefly mentioned this one already: midterm exams. Yup, exams are creeping in already. Two more weeks and then the fun begins. May the odds be ever in your favour.
So, what are your plans for October?
It’s that time of year: my 21st birthday! *Throws confetti* I always love my birthday (something to do with lots of cake, pretty wrapped presents, and my family gathered in one place) I got a little sentimental this year and started thinking about how blogging now plays a part in it.
I’ve been blogging for 2,5 year now and it’s been quite the journey. And while I love every single part of blogging, if there’s one thing I love most it is the people I met through it. While they can’t always be here in person for this day, be it that they already had plans, or be it that they live on the other side of the pond and live so far away that it’s just not possible for them to travel all the way here, I know they’re celebrating with me nonetheless.
So a little guide on how to celebrate your birthday with friends that live overseas:
- Bottle of wine (or any other choice of beverage)
- M&M’s, popcorn, chocolate, or any other yummy movie food
- THE movie you both chose to watch (stream from Netflix or just plain old rent it)
- A laptop, smartphone, or tablet
- A little bit of birthday magic
Step by Step Guide:
1) Collect the wine, movie food, and your means of communication to contact your friend
2) Start the movie you both decided to watch, and pause it at the very beginning
3) Press play on the same time and keep your phone close to you so you can discuss the awesomeness happening on the screen (ideally, you want the movie to be over around 11.45 pm)
4) Has the movie ended? Insert a bathroom break here when necessary
5) Poor yourself a new glass of wine
6) Time to Skype your friend (or wait for your friend to Skype you)
7) Talk about whatever, then, 10 seconds to go till 12, start the countdown
8) HAPPY BIRTHDAY
9) Unwrap presents, this way your friend can see your face when you open the presents they sent you!
Honestly, this is a guarantee to success. I did this with my friend Dani this year, and it was so much fun! We watched Taken (because I’m an action kind of girl and I LOVE Liam Neeson movies) and it was a blast. I didn’t think it would work, because nothing can beat a girls movie night, but this came so very close. We ended up Skyping for almost 2 hours. We’re so doing this again soon!
All the Pretty Presents
Wait, that’s not all! No, there’s more! I want to show you how much I got spoiled by my friends. I had the best time unwrapping them. Dani got front-row tickets to see my reaction to the gifts, and she’ll be able to confirm how excited I was. I was like a little kid in a candy store.
So, the Heir of Fire print and the kickass Alice in Wonderland themed hair bow are part of the package I got from Ali. It was a big package filled with awesomeness, but this print and that bow are probably my favorites and I just wanted to share (again). I have an empty frame in my apartment reserved for it, and it’s just going to look SO badass!
Then that awesome t-shirt and Jennifer Armentrout book on the right? That’s my sister’s present for me! She had this for 3 months prior to my birthday and had been teasing me about it non-stop. I FINALLY KNOW! I love it, the t-shirt says: “Hot, Blonde, Sexy & Single (also fucking difficult)”. It’s brilliant (I am so wearing it now).
Saga Volume 4 and Nimona! These two have been on my wishlist for what feels like FOREVER (even though it hasn’t even been THAT long since I started reading graphic novels). Jamie picked up on this and got them for my birthday. I hugged these beauties when I unwrapped them. Just so damn beautiful it makes my eyes hurt. And I might or might not have already finished Saga Volume 4 (whoops, haha).
And last, but definitely not least, Uprooted and Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales. These beauties are from Dani. I met Dani in August when she was on holiday in Amsterdam. We stopped in at least two book stores, and at the Waterstones Dani told me that the fairy-tales were her favourite, and I told her that I’d never read them before, but LOVED fairy-tales. Surprise surprise what I got for my birthday?! Also, one of her fave books of the year: Uprooted. Which I am so excited to read!
And this about concludes my birthday! My actual party will be next Saturday, but I already feel so spoiled. Books books books! My friends sure know me well! Oh and let’s not forget to mention the kickass drawing of one of my fave characters Elise made for me (it is so pretty).
Hugs all the pretty presents