I’ve been a little quiet around here lately. Spending more time reading, thinking, and browsing other parts of the web. Every once in a while I get in a blogging slump where I don’t feel like updating or even reading/commenting on other blogs (something I love to do). Even though I don’t feel like I want to come back 100% to this space, I wanted to post about what I read in October because I really have been loving this reading challenge so far.
Read in October
I read six books in total, leaving me with two books short of my goal, but still a good amount. I started reading Sea Glass when I realized that it was the second book in that series and I hadn’t even read the first (fail), and I started Atonement but just wasn’t into it. Some really quick reviews:
- Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – I was a bit disappointed in this book. Graceling, the first book in this series, is one of my favorite books but this one was all over the place. I had a hard time staying in the story and towards the end I started to not care what happened, as long as something did. So many twists and turns, a hundred questions and theories, a lot of ~mystery~ but the answers didn’t come until the very end and by then I was so overwhelmed that I wanted to just finish the story so I could move on.
- The Shining by Stephen King – Amazing. Very disturbing book and I was really happy to have finally read it. I want to watch the movie next. By far the scariest part about this book was how real it felt. This is a status I wrote while reading the book: “Reading Jack Torrance’s thoughts as he tries to rationalize & justify his destructive behavior against his family is probably the scariest part of this book. There are real people out there, right now, who rationalize & justify their actions & shift the blame onto others as they go insane. It’s terrifying to know that in the right circumstances, anyone could become Jack Torrance.“
- Unwholly and Unsouled by Neal Shusterman – LOVE this series! The character development, the plot, the way it’s written–it all works. I’m really happy that Shusterman is publishing a fourth book!
- You Get So Alone At Times It Starts to Make Sense by Charles Bukowski - Tons of craziness here, some poems were interesting to read, almost like stories, and others were very depressing and random. Not a lot of poems that I loved though.
I’m starting to think I won’t be able to complete 45 books by the end of the year. It seems that six books is the most that I can realistically read. Unless I read some short graphic novels, which I might do… But I’m hoping to at least read 40.
TBR for November
I’m most excited about the two graphic novels, Sandman Vol. 1 and Fables Vol 1. I go through those quickly. I’ve also heard really good things about Night Film.
This coming Thursday I’ll be flying to Puerto Rico for five days to attend my cousin’s wedding. It’s been about four years since I’ve visited the island so I am very excited to go back and reunite with my family. I’m hoping this mini-vacation will be the boost that I need to get back into the swing of things. Have a great week!
Can I just quickly say how awesome you guys are?
I really wanted to participate in the Grad-itude 101 link up this week because I’m feeling very grateful for my friends, my family, and more importantly, you–those of you who take the time to read my posts and leave wonderful comments. Specifically those of you who commented on my last post and encouraged me with your words. Feeling heartbroken is not something that’s new to me, but it’s just one of those things that no matter how many times you experience it, it hurts every time.
Alicia left me a comment that really resonated with me:
Can we just call this idea of dedicating more time to ourselves–time needed for self care, for reflection, and for healing–radical selfishness? It’s not selfish at all, not in the traditional sense. By taking better care of ourselves, we have more to give others and more to contribute to the world in turn.
I loved the term she used–radical selfishness–and thought about what it meant to me. I replied to Alicia saying that I loved the term and what it represented, although I found it a little sad that the concept of focusing on yourself and dedicating time to your needs is sometimes seen as something “radical.”
Why should self-love be radical? In fact, why don’t people do it more often?
These past two weeks I feel like I’ve been nursing myself back to who I used to be. I’ve been focusing on my needs, what makes me happy, and what I need during this difficult time. Radical self-love has been one of the main reasons why I’ve been feeling like I’m almost back to my old self. There have been three consistent things that have really helped me heal and move on from this feeling of sadness and disappointment. I wanted to share them with you in case anyone else is also feeling a bit down.
Three Ways You Can Practice Radical Self-Love
The following three things I’m going to share are all related to the concept of radical selfishness, of taking care of yourself above all, and keeping in mind that you cannot fully give to others without being whole yourself. This is all about you looking out for you.
#1) Surround yourself with people who genuinely have your best interests at heart. This one sounds like a given, but trust me when I say it’s not enough to just hang around people you care about. Surround yourself specifically with those people who you know deep down want what is best for you, who listen attentively, and who are willing to provide wisdom while reserving judgment. A person you care about can lift you up just as easily as they can drag you down and the last thing you need while you’re hurting is to not have the support you need.
#2) Find an escape via distraction. Sometimes we need to distract ourselves, not only to keep us from focusing on the negative, but also to force us to look past our pain and into other possibilities. It’s easy to get stuck in a bubble of sadness, and when we’re stuck in this bubble it’s very difficult to look beyond and realize that this isn’t the end all be all of our happiness. My favorite form of escape is reading. I also really enjoy watching a favorite TV show or movie that lifts my spirits and makes me laugh beside myself.
#3) Release your emotions. Whether it’s writing down how you feel in a diary, writing a letter to the person who hurt you, painting, singing, dancing–whatever it is that helps you let it all out, do it. It’s not healthy to stew in frustration or resentment–don’t let it consume you. It’s okay to feel sad, but once you’ve cried it out and released all of those pent up emotions, learn to let it go. We owe it to ourselves to look past these temporary step backs and look forward.
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Rinse and repeat. These past two weeks have been spent with people I care about (who also care about me), escaping inside of a story, and writing my feelings down. I encourage everyone to carve some time out for themselves. Let’s focus on our needs for once. Let’s celebrate ourselves so that in turn we can offer our very best to those we care about, those that have been there for us the most.
It’s been a weird week. I’m dealing with a little heartbreak and rather than mope around like I want to, I’m forcing myself to write about something that makes me happy and hopeful for the future.
Two weeks ago I read an entry by Allie about there being only 99 days left in the year and how she wants to make the most out of the little time we have left:
When I think about how fast the first 266 days of the year have gone by, it makes me wonder if I’m really getting my fill of happy out of my life. [...] So I’m dedicating the next 99 (or 97..) days to me. Yep, me. I will spend them the way I want to.
She made a list of promises to herself for the rest of the year, and I encourage you to read it as it’s very inspiring. I loved the idea and thought up a list of my own. My list is a bit more specific but the idea is basically the same: make the most out of the next 84 days.
In the next 84 days I hope to…
- Walk for a cause (this is already in the works–we’ll be doing a breast cancer awareness walk on Oct 19th!)
- Picnic at the park with friends
- Watch a drive-in movie (never done this before but I’ve always wanted to try it)
- Spend more time with my family (will be taking a trip to Puerto Rico in November for my cousin’s wedding and I’m going to make the most of it)
- Read 45 books by the end of the year (I’m working on this now, as you all know!)
- See a Cirque du Soleil show (making plans to see this in December)
- Go shooting
The days are going by fast now. It’s fall, it’s getting cooler, and soon the holidays will be here. I’ve already done so much this year and feel super happy that I’ve enjoyed lots of cool experiences, but why not end the year with a bang, right?
Here’s to a happier, fun-filled, and fulfilling rest of the year.
During the month of August I read six books and during the month of September I read a total of five books, which left me three short of my goal for the month. I’m very behind on my reading challenge of reading 45 books by the end of the year, but I’m not giving up. I will finish this challenge, dammit.
Read in September
In September I read the following books:
I ended up reading only two books out of my September TBR list, which was a major fail. Some books I didn’t get to at all, and other books I started but didn’t want to continue reading. Some really quick reviews:
- The Death Cure by James Dashner - I finished this series because I read the first two books and found them entertaining. However by the third book Dashner’s writing and use of ridiculous plot twists to move the story along got really old by the third book. It had a satisfying ending, although it felt rushed, but I can see why younger readers would really be caught up in this story.
- Letters to Skye by Jessica Brockmole – This was a sad yet heartwarming romance but to be honest, I didn’t feel it was anything special.
- Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – I really enjoyed the first book and the second one didn’t disappoint. Very captivating world, great writing, interesting cast of characters, and at times it’s super violent (which I personally love). It was an enjoyable read for me.
- Fatal: The Poisonous Life of a Female Serial Killer by Harold Schechter – I really enjoyed this. It was super fast paced, packed with detail and colorful storytelling and it was just a really satisfying look at some notorious female serial killers in history.
I’m hoping to do a lot better in October. As it stands I need to read 27 (!!!) more books by the end of the year so I really need to read read read during the next few months!
TBR for October
During the month of October I want to read some spooky books as well as The Book Thief since the movie is coming out soon. On my list are the following books:
There are only 92 days left this year so I better get to it. Wish me luck! And if you have any recommendations for books to read please let me know. What have you been reading?
Happy Wednesday guys! I woke up in a really good mood today, which is fitting because today I’m going to talk about something that makes me really happy. For this week’s GRAD-itude 101 post I’m sharing my reverse bucket list (if you’re interested in just my general bucket list, go here).
I first heard about reverse bucket lists from Erika’s blog (check out her awesome list) and found it impressive and inspiring to read about all of the cool things she’s accomplished and experienced in just 27 years. She listed places she’s visited, milestones, and other random things that she found pleasure in. Soon after I stumbled upon Sian Louise’s reverse bucket list and decided to just come up with my own already.
What better way to reflect on gratitude than to look back on all the awesome things I’ve already had the opportunity to experience in my short time here?
It was an interesting exercise to actually sit and think about what to include. I only have 45 things in my list for now, but I’m sure in another five years I’ll have maybe twice as many things, which is really exciting to think about. And even if I don’t double the list, just being able to say I already did half of these things in 26 years is pretty damn awesome.
- Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
- Go horseback riding (in Colorado and Atlanta)
- Go snorkeling at a sunken ship site (Aruba)
- Learn French in high school
- Ride a roller coaster (Cedar Point, Busch Gardens, SeaWorld)
- Visit Harry Potter theme park at Universal
- Visit the Walk of Fame in Hollywood
- Visit the Eiffel Tower
- Go on four overnight cruises
- Try Vietnamese cuisine
- Go canoeing
- Visit the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida
- Ride the tube in London and the metro in Paris
- Swim with stingrays
- Sent a care package to soldiers overseas
- Watch Les Miserables on Broadway
- Ride in a limo
- Lost 30 pounds and adopted a healthier lifestyle
- Visit Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur
- Visit the Cleveland Zoo
- Go to all four Disney parks
- Swim in Grand Cayman Islands
- Visit Savannah, Georgia
- Visit the Navy Pier in Chicago
- Graduate from high school
- Camp overnight
- Walk through a haunted house (Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando)
- Visit a Titanic museum and a Holocaust museum
- Go to the movies by myself
- Watch a live flamenco performance
- Meet an online friend in person (twice!)
- Complete the Couch to 5k challenge
- Eat at a restaurant by myself
- Do a Europe trip (London, Dublin, and Paris) by myself
- Be in a play
- Go to the Louvre and see The Mona Lisa
- Start a blog
- Visit The Bean in Chicago
- Live in a different state (2008)
- Take a road trip to Miami
- Go to Sea World and see Shamu
- Vote in a presidential election
- See Bobby McFerrin live in concert (California)
- See a rainbow (and a double rainbow!)
- Purchase a home
If you’re interested in seeing my current bucket list, check that out here. If you’ve already made a reverse bucket list of your own, please leave your link in the comments!
This week I’m especially grateful for being able to appreciate the little things.
I’m grateful for long conversations with a friend who’s willing to listen without judging.
I’m grateful for those moments when you really get lost in a book and you manage to escape for long periods of time.
I’m grateful for the blogging community and the opportunity it gives me to feel connected and part of something bigger.
I’m grateful for imagination.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to give comfort to a friend.
I’m grateful for looking past feeling lonely and appreciating that solitude is sometimes exactly what I need.
I’m grateful for the Grad-itude 101 link-up, because reading your posts is the ultimate reminder.
I’m grateful for words–your words–because they have the ability to affect me in the best possible way.
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I encourage you to check out Erika’s latest post where she shares some really heartfelt posts written by different bloggers in the past few weeks as a part of this link-up. She was kind enough to include me in her list and I can honestly say I’m in great company. If you’re looking for something positive to read, something to brighten your day, or inspire you, or make you think, or just to pass the time in a fulfilling way, go check out her list. Or better yet, join the link-up! It’s not too late and what better way to pass the time than to sit and reflect on all of the things you have to be grateful for?