My Bookish Resolutions: April Update

Hello everyone, and happy Friday!

Today I’m going to be discussing how my bookish resolutions have been working out so far – have I been keeping to them? Have I given up? Read on to find out!

Resolution 1: Read Every Day

Ha. Ha. Ha. As you have likely clearly seen, I haven’t been reading every day until recently. You know, school’s the usual excuse. I have, however, created a new schedule for myself that involves reading at 9 o’clock to calm myself down enough to go to bed at 10. I haven’t been following it perfectly, but it’s better than nothing!

Resolution 2: Read More Sequels

The only sequel that I have read this year is Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton, which I am still currently reading. I’ve had a lot of ARCs that I’ve wanted to get to, and I don’t read quickly enough to get through them all in a short amount of time.

Resolution 3: Buy Only Sequels

This is one resolution that I’ve actually been pretty good about! I’ve only bought 3 books this year: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard, and Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch. While ACoW is technically not a sequel, it is a spinoff from The Star Touched Queen, so I counted it as a sequel (my love for Chokshi made me break this rule tbh). I’m pretty proud of myself for only buying 3 books this year!

Resolution 4: Use the Library

I actually have been good about this, too, borrowing Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton before reading TttT. That’s pretty much it, though I plan to use it a lot more for other hyped books.

Resolution 5: Don’t Pressure Yourself with a Reading Goal

LOL I’ve already surpassed my reading goal of 3 by reading 4 books, which makes me very happy. It’s kind of freeing, in a way – and it’s fun to see the percent bar go above 100%. A false sense of accomplishment to make me feel like I’m being productive!


Did you make any bookish New Year’s Resolutions? How are they going for you? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

~ Becca

Thoughts on my blogging (LONG)

This post is going to be a bit of a jumbled mess, so bear with me while I attempt to put the feelings in my brain into words.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and my place in the blogging world lately. I wrote a little thread about it on my Twitter, if you want to see the gist of it, but I decided that maybe it would be good for me to write out all of my thoughts and feelings on the subject. Maybe it will make me feel better, or at least help me finally come to a decision?

First, a little history.

I have been a reader for pretty much my whole life, thanks to my Mom, but I only started getting into writing when I was in the seventh grade. My main focus was creative writing, specifically fictional stories. I had a short story of mine published in an anthology in the eleventh grade (junior year), I was in a creative writing group for my last two years of high school, and took a creative writing class during the twelfth grade (senior year).

After I graduated high school, an opportunity came up to write blog posts for a popular student life website. Blogging was something I’d always thought about, but didn’t think I was interesting enough for. In this case, however, I was going to be a freshman in university, so I figured that it would give me plenty of material. I ended up writing for these guys for about a year and a half, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed it, most of the time.

About a month after I started blogging with them, I found out about booklr, a community of book lovers on Tumblr. I made my own booklr, under a different name. Eventually I came up with beccathelitwitch, and have carried that name forward with me ever since. Booklr started out being cool; there were a lot of gorgeous photos to share, lots of friendly people to talk books with, and lots of new books to learn about. Seriously, I don’t think my TBR pile would be this big if it weren’t for the booklr community. I also met one of my good friends, Kat, on there.

I dove right in, following all the popular blogs and entering giveaways and having my blog rated by the popular bloggers so I could gain some followers of my own. This is also where I started trying my hand at book photography. The following photos are a comparison of the first photo I posted on booklr, and the last one I posted to my bookstagram:

Okay, so I am the first to admit that I’m still not very good at photography, but at the very least I am a lot better at it than I used to be.

I started doing book reviews in the following January, and that was basically what my booklr was: 70% reblogged posts, 30% my own photos and posts. Honestly, it was a good time waster and a fun way to learn about new books. But I was just starting university, so while I wanted to do more of my own posts, do more for my blog, I had to prioritize school. I’ll admit that I craved to be as popular as the other blogs, to have publishers send me books, to have affiliate links, etc. But now I understand that that level of popularity took a lot of time, patience, and hard work, and while I like to think that I have the effort in me, the truth is that I have never had the time or patience for it.

I made this blog about a year and a half after, around the same time that I stopped writing for the student life website. Tumblr was ultimately more about photos, and photos were definitely not my strong suit, so I thought that I’d try my hand at a platform that focused more on writing – which I’ve been doing for many years now. (I also had a brief stint as a booktuber, but we’re not going to talk about that failure – LOL.)

Fast forward a year and here we are. I started out with a regular posting schedule, with meme posts and tags and reviews scheduled for specific days, and I was really excited about it. But, once again, school took all of my focus and time, and now I’m at the point where I’m lucky if I manage to post twice a week.

Okay, that’s great Becca, but get to the good stuff. Tell us how you really feel.

As I said before I went on that historical tangent, I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I should continue book blogging. There are, of course, a million and one reasons why I think I shouldn’t.

No. 1: Time

You’ve seen me complain A LOT about how I don’t have the time to work on this blog, and I often don’t even make the time to read – how am I supposed to run a book blog when I don’t even read? I am a full time university student, trying to get a high GPA so that I can get into a good grad school program. I also work part-time, have quite a few familial obligations, a social life to upkeep, and enjoy my sleep. And, yeah, maybe I spend a little too long online window-shopping and watching YouTube. Blogs need time for creating posts and writing them, time to promote yourself across multiple platforms and get traffic to the blog itself. Can I even make that kind of time?

No. 2: Mediocrity

Because I don’t spend a lot of time on my blog, my skills are mediocre at best. And being mediocre in a sea of stand-out bloggers doing important and cool things is really disheartening. It’s kind of like “what’s the point of me continuing with my mediocrity when I can’t compete with everyone else?” (I mean, the fact that I am trying to compete may also be a sign that I really shouldn’t be blogging. It may also be a problem that is deeply rooted in a childhood of being told I’m exceptional and a young-adulthood of being told that I’m actually just average. But that’s a tale for another time.)

In addition, I’m really bad at being a critical reader, though I want to get better, and in the current political climate being a critical reader is more important than ever. I’m not bringing anything new or exciting to the table, I’m not opening people’s eyes to new ideas and problems and solutions, like a lot of wonderful bloggers are. Again, my current thought process is that if I’m not doing anything that makes people think, then why am I doing this?

No. 3: Focus

I have always considered myself a “jack of all trades and a master at none”, and this is probably the best cliche description of me that exists. I love to try new and different things, but that also makes focussing on one thing to “master” really hard. I’ve done seven different sports, half-learned to play the guitar, sing, and know a basic amount of French – heck, even the degrees I plan to graduate with cover three different disciplines (if you’re curious: science, arts, and humanities).

I want to learn how to cook and how to speak different languages. I want to be able to feed people good meals that don’t involve copious amounts of icing and butter (though there’s absolutely no problem with that), and be able to speak to people so that I can learn more than I ever could in just English. I also want to write so many novels, to publish my beloved characters and make people happy with my books. Focusing on blogging is really difficult for me because I just want to do so many other things on top of it!

No. 4: The Future

This one is pretty selfish, but I’m at the point in my life where I really need to start thinking about where I’m going, career wise. Is having a mediocre blog going to help me with my future job? Is this really where I should be putting my time and energy? If I drop this hobby, will that help or hurt me?

Okay okay, but then why are you still doing this?

No. 1: I like it

Yeah, okay, so I’m really not good at anything book-related, except maybe fictional writing, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it. I started this blog because I enjoyed discussing books so much on other platforms, and writing was the medium I was the most comfortable with. I like doing tags and writing reviews, reading books and getting excited about them with people. The community is, most of the time, really great, especially since a lot of authors participate in these conversations on social media. As someone who’s not part of many clubs or communities in real life, this one means a lot to me.

No. 2: I’m stubborn

I’m a competitive and driven person, generally speaking, and I don’t particularly enjoy quitting hobbies, especially since without them I’m b o r i n g.

No. 3: ARCs

(I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be telling you all this or not, but if it turns out it’s a bad idea, gently let me know and I can edit)

To clarify: I requested a lot of ARCs, thinking that there was no way that I would actually be accepted for every single one of them (hello, mediocrity). Lo and behold, I had like seven different ARCs sitting on my shelf, and zero time to read them. If I do decide to stop blogging, it will be after I write the reviews for the remaining books, because while I am a slow reader, I am also a person who likes to complete her obligations and promises before moving on to the next thing. It’s the least I can do for being granted the advanced copies.


And so, here we are, over 1,700 words later. I had actually planned to say more, but I’m going to force myself to stop here, for everyone’s sake. And yet there is still a question hanging above my head: should I stay or should I go? Should I put my energy elsewhere, or should I continue in my average-ness?

If you have any thoughts, I welcome you to leave them in the comments down below. I’m happy to receive any and all input, if it helps me come to a decision.

If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you. I barely made it this far.

I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day/night, wherever you are. Thanks for reading!

~Becca

Ten Bookish Places I Want to Visit

It’s a big world that we live in, which means that there are a wide variety of shops and libraries to visit around the globe! Today I’ll be listing some of the places that I would love to visit, though this list is by no means exhaustive – I had to cut it down so I wouldn’t ramble on forever. As always, I welcome all suggestions for bookstores and libraries around the world that I should consider visiting – you may even introduce me to a new favourite!

Libraries

Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I remember seeing this Colosseum-like building when I went to Vancouver about seven years ago (yikes!), but had no idea what it actually was until now. The architecture is what makes this building really neat, although I’m sure it also holds many gems inside. You can find out more information on the Vancouver Public Library website, and see the building on their Flickr!

Biblioteca Vasconcelos in Mexico City, Mexico.

The images I’ve seen of this library make it seem like a floating city of books. It’s a very angular library, lots of straight edges and modern decor – well, except for the white whale skeleton, which looks tiny compared to the enormity of the library itself. According to Rebecca O’Connell at Mental Floss, in 2015 the library held about 470,000 books, but the shelves weren’t all that full back then, another testament to its grandeur. I bet it holds more tomes now than it did back then.

The Library of Admont Abbey in Austria

Admont Abbey
Inside the Library of Admont Abbey (photo from the Stift Admont website)

This library is the epitome of Baroque style, with ceiling frescoes, limewood carvings, gold accents, and white surfaces to optimize the light. According to their website, the library holds 70,000 books of the 200,000 owned by the abbey. There are no barriers, and apparently you can tour the space without a guide! If I ever get to go here, I might have a Belle a-la Beauty and the Beast moment.

Delft University of Technology Library in the Netherlands

 

What I really like about this building is that most of it is underground. Delft University of Technology’s library has a living roof (of grass), and a giant skylight that points into a cone above ground. The inside has a modern feel, which I’ve come to expect from the Netherlands, and lots of different rooms for students to study in. Find out more info on their website, and see pictures on their Flickr!

Biblioteca Joanina at the Universidade de Coimbra in Portugal

Biblioteca Joanina
Inside Biblioteca Joanina (photo from the Universidade de Coimbra website)

Built between 1717 and 1728, Biblioteca Joanina holds rare, old books that can only be accessed by researchers, though the library itself is open to visitation by the public. It’s quite opulent, to say the least, with teakwood doors, gold-guilded decorations, and oakwood shelves that they claim deter pests from ruining the collection. Plus, they’ve got bats to help further protect the collection! How cool is that? You can read more about this gorgeous library on the Universidade de Coimbra website!

 

Bookstores

The Strand Bookstore in Manhattan, New York, USA

The Strand is one of those bookstores that I hear a million and one people talk about. It’s one of those bookstores that I swear is on every American/Canadian bookworm’s bucket list. They buy and sell books in their huge facility, claiming to have “18 miles of books”. I think I heard about this store in Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, and ever since then I’ve wanted to visit it. Maybe next time I’m in New York, though I don’t know when that will be… Find out more about this shop from their website!

Owl’s Nest Bookstore in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

This cute used bookstore is nestled in Canada’s East Coast, and is a favourite of locals and visitors, alike. At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but they’ve managed to pack a lot of books in this small shop. I can definitely see myself spending a lot of time here, just browsing through all the shelves and finding some hidden gems. I really love exploring quaint bookstores. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

Ben McNally Books in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ben McNally
Inside Ben McNally Books (from the Ben McNally Books website)

The inside of this bookstore is full of wooden decor and cozy leather chairs to curl up in. The decor is gorgeous, extending to the elegant artwork on the ceilings. They say that their shelves are always changing, that the owner and workers are open to new suggestions and always ready to help readers find something new.

Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon

Powell’s is another one of those stores that I hear about on Twitter, and is in many of those “places you have to visit!” lists for bookworms. Settled in Portland, Oregon, it boasts the title of the largest new and used bookstore in the world – so, really, it’s no wonder that everyone seems to want to visit!

El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires, Argentina

This is another bookstore that ends up on many bookish bucket lists – and, obviously it’s on my list, so I can’t blame everyone for wanting to visit. Buzzfeed even wrote an article about it! This bookstore is a repurposed theatre, with seating and a cafe on the stage and stacks of books where the seating used to be. You can check out photographer Niels Micker’s photos of it on Flickr. Talk about Instagram-able!


 

Thank you for reading, and remember to leave your dream libraries and bookstores down below in the comments! Have a wonderful Monday ❤

~ Becca

Why I Am a Reader Tag

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today I’m going to be attempting the Why I Am a Reader Tag, which I saw Reagan from PeruseProject on YouTube do. I thought this would be a fun, kind of different tag to do to break up my usual book-recommendations and lists.

1. Choose one word that would describe you as a reader.

The first word I thought of was slow, because I am such a slow reader, especially with school and work, etc. I would love to read more of the books on my TBR, faster, but I enjoy savouring books and, let’s face it, my time management isn’t 100%.

2. What is the first book that made you fall in love with reading?

The book that stands out the most in my memory is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I read it in the 3rd grade for class and it’s the first full-length novel that I remember really enjoying – so much so, in fact, that I borrowed my library’s copy after we’d finished reading it, lost it, bought them a new one, and found their copy much later. I still have their copy!

3. Hardcover or paperback?

I just love the durability of hardbacks, as well as the sweet designs a lot of them have. I know they’re more expensive and they’re heavier, but I’m always afraid of taking paperbacks anywhere with me because I worry they’ll get bent.

4. How has reading shaped your identity?

I’m pretty much the bookworm of my family – I’m always asking for Chapters gift cards for Christmas/my birthday, and (unless I’m in a reading slump) when I have free time I will normally spend it reading. I also think that if I didn’t love reading so much, I probably wouldn’t have the job that I do. I applied to work at a library because I wanted to work with books, and because Chapters wouldn’t hire me (xD), and 2 and a half years later I still love working there, and have gone through two promotions since I started.

5. What book do you read when you want to be comforted?

Honestly I’m not much of a rereader. I used to reread The Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong when I was a tween, but nowadays when I seek comfort I turn to my own writing. That seems pretty egotistical of me, but I really like going back and reading the trilogy that I wrote when I was 14 through to 17. I got through 2 and a half of the books before I gave up on it. It’s really fun to see how my writing has changed since then, and to see how my perspectives have changed, too. I also have a slight obsession with the main characters of those books, who I hope to eventually bring to life in another story some day.

6. Who influenced you to be a reader?

There are a lot of people in my life who read a lot: my mom, for sure, but also my grandmother, my aunts and one of my uncles, and some of my friends. I feel like I’ve just always had people in my life who liked to read, and they really helped me (and still do!) navigate the wide world of books.

7. Describe your dream reading lounge.

Ideally it’s not at ground level, at least on the second story of whatever building I’m in. There’s either a large, comfy chair with an ottoman or a chaise lounge, a small table beside me for drinks, a pillow, and a blanket. There’s a large window to let in lots of natural light, and covering the rest of the walls are bookshelves full of my books.

8. What book changed the way you saw the world?

The first book that comes to mind is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: a Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman. As someone who was born and grew up in Canada, with a family who believes whole-heartedly in medicine and science, it was eye-opening for me to read about a way of thinking about illness not as a physical problem, but as a spiritual one. It really made me think.


Okie dokie, time to tag people! *rubs hands together*

I tag…

Hannah, Sarena and Sasha, and Adele!

If you’re reading this and want to do this tag, I welcome you to do it and say that I tagged you!

Have a wonderful Humpday, everyone! 😀

~ Becca

Bookish Resolutions and Plans for the New Year

Hello everyone! Can you believe we’re nearing the end of 2016? This year has been pretty rough for almost everyone I know, so I can understand that many people are more than ready to move on into the new year, where more adventures, possibilities, and books await!

As my last post of 2016, I’m going to talk about my goals for 2017, and after that I’m going to discuss how my blogging is going to change (again) for 2017. No more babbling, let’s get into it!

Bookish Resolutions

1. READ EVERY DAY

A couple of months ago I decided to count how many books I own and how many of them I have actually read. You know what the percentage was? 44%. I have read fewer than half of the books I own. No, it’s not a joke, it’s actually pretty sad. In order to get through more of these books, I want to start reading at least a chapter per day, whether that’s before bed or on the bus on the way to school, or anywhere in between. I’m pretty stressed by the number of books I own, so I should really start reading them to relieve some of that stress.

 

2. READ MORE SEQUELS

I have read plenty of first books, but there are about 15 series I own of which I have not read the rest, or even at least the second book. I own a lot of sequels, but there’s always something else to read or something else to do. In 2017 I want to focus on sending these sequels some love and continuing on with the stories I’ve already started. These series include:

  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  • The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
  • Prisoners of Peace by Erin Bow
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
  • A Book of Spirits and Thieves by Morgan Rhodes
  • Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
  • The Gypsy King by Maureen Fergus
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera
  • Firebird by Claudia Gray
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

 

3. BUY ONLY SEQUELS

To go hand in hand with the last resolution, I want to stop buying so many books and save my money for other things – I am becoming an adult, after all. One way I plan to do this is to only buy the sequels to series I already own. My exceptions for this rule are: if I loved a book I borrowed from the library, and if there’s a book signing for an author I want to read. Other than that, no buying new series, Rebecca!

 

4. USE THE LIBRARY

I have recently started using my public library to read more books to stop myself from buying any and every book I want to read. I want to continue doing this in 2017, as well, since it saves me money and saves room on my shelves!

 

5. DON’T PRESSURE YOURSELF WITH A READING GOAL

After having to shift my reading goal for 2 years in a row due to a busier schedule than I intended, I’m going to try something new this year: I’m setting my Goodreads goal to 1 book. I will read what I read, and I don’t want to pressure myself into reading a certain amount, especially if I end up falling way behind as I have been for a while.

 

The Future of this Blog

First thing’s first: I love book blogging. I love blogging in general, as writing is something that I have always enjoyed and am usually pretty good at, if I do say so myself. Getting the chance to blog about books, reading, and writing, has been so much fun, and while my blog is not where I’d ideally like it to be, I’m still happy that I made the decision to switch from Tumblr to WordPress.

I have come to a realization lately that will directly affect my activity on this blog. You see, I have been treating this blog like a full-time job, when I already have a full-time job as a university student, and a part-time job as a library assistant. I realized that while I enjoy doing this, it’s just not realistic for me to try to think up posts everyday, while simultaneously getting an education, working, and attempting to read a lot. I’m sure there are people who have much better time management than I, and I applaud those who can do all of these things, but it just is not working out for me.

So, in the new year my blog will not have a set posting schedule. I want to shift my focus back onto my schooling so I can get the grades necessary for grad school, since that’s likely where I’m heading. I am still hoping to post at least once or twice per week, but I’m not going to promise any specific posts. I will post what I can, when I can. Like I said, I love blogging too much to give it up, but I’m changing tactics so I can hopefully get my life back in order. I hope you all understand that.

I will continue to post on Twitter and Instagram, and of course I’ll keep my Goodreads updated, so if you want to see what I’m reading on the daily, you should follow me on those sites!

I think that’s about it for now. Tell me about your bookish resolutions in the comments below!

As always, thank you very much for reading this, and for supporting me while I figure things out. I really appreciate each and every one of you.

I wish you all a happy, safe, and adventurous new year!

~Becca ❤

Attempting a New Reading Schedule

Before I start today’s post, I would like to sincerely apologize for not posting on Friday. I had 2 work shifts, went to the gym, and hung out with my boyfriend, in the process completely forgetting to post.

Well, there goes my posting streak. It lasted, what, 3 months? Hah.

Anyway, onto the post!


So I had set a goal for myself to finish reading my ARC of The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, the sequel to The Scorpion Rules, by today, since it will be officially released tomorrow. Unfortunately, I’m only about halfway through, so that dream has pretty much been crushed.

Listen, I knew keeping up with my hobby-reading would be hard during the school year, especially since university learning involves a lot of textbook and article reading. With some major tests coming up, I may have to put the novels down in exchange for lab manuals. That being said, I’m attempting to start a new regime for myself, in an attempt to continue reading while simultaneously studying, working, and being a social human being. What is that schedule, you ask?

My new schedule is a pretty basic concept: leave the novel at home. I know, that seems pretty weird for those of you who read on the bus or between classes, but so far that has not worked out well for me. I do commute to school, but it’s not far enough for me to read very much, and, honestly, I don’t particularly enjoy reading while in a moving vehicle or while waiting for the bus/train.

I spend a lot of my time at school, since I also work there, and I often have large gaps between classes and shifts. Usually I use this time to scroll through social media or read novels, but a lot of my classes have started picking up the pace and throwing information and tests at me. Because of this, I know that I need to start prioritizing school, which means actually studying during those breaks between class.

Now, I’m not completely giving up on reading. By leaving my books at home, I’m hoping it will force me to finish all of my work at school, so that I can start reading before bed. Last year I used to do my work until 11PM, and then go to bed stressed – not very good. With this method, if I can finish my work at school I won’t have to stay up doing it, and I can also do a more relaxing activity to help get me prepared to sleep. And, let’s be honest, what’s more relaxing than curling up in bed with a good book? Not much.

Is this schedule going to work for me? I’m not really sure. I hope it does. I’ll let you know how it goes.

So, tell me, how do you balance reading with the rest of your life? Got any tips? Leave ’em in the comments so everyone else can see!

Thanks for reading!

~Becca

 

Blog Changes

Hello lovely readers!

So, as some of you may or may not know, I’ll be heading back to school this fall, and on top of that I’ll be starting a semi-new job (basically, I’ve been promoted). All of this together means that I am going to be much busier, so I’ll be reading less and posting even less.

To accommodate my changing life, I will be shortening the posting schedule for this blog. Starting next week (Monday, August 5th) I will no longer be posting 5 days per week. Instead I will be cutting it down to 3 days – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

As of right now I won’t be promising a specific post for each day. I would like to post a review AT LEAST once per week, maybe twice. Like I said, I’ll have less reading time, so I won’t be posting as many reviews.

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with it! I don’t know what to expect from my new classes, but I’ll definitely be trying my hardest.

Thank you so much to everyone who has stuck around with me, and here’s to a new school year!

I hope you’re all doing well – talk soon!

~Becca