Not Books, Personal

Unplanned Hiatus

Happy Sunday, everyone!

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t made any posts and haven’t done much in the way of comments or interactions for the past week. I’ve had some health and some work stuff come up and just wasn’t able to get onto WordPress. I barely got any reading done, and I also didn’t do much on Twitter either. Anyway! I have three posts queued up for this week and, uhh, I think one or two already written and queued for next week, so I’m back!

I’m also still planning on doing the Make Me Read It Readathon and am excited but nervous about that! Any general motivational advice would be much appreciated, as it has been difficult for me to find the energy or time to do anything!

Not Books, Personal

Road Trip 2k17

So!!! My family and I went on a road trip to Washington, D.C. recently to visit some family. I hadn’t been down in a few years and I haven’t taken a proper vacation in years.


I don’t even want to talk about how much coffee I had during this vacation.


Compulsory Starbucks bathroom selfie! Why am I wearing a flower crown on a road trip? I don’t know.


Obviously cats are the most important part of any vacation, so here’s a handsome one.


We went to the National Zoo! This was the Amazonia exhibit, which was really cool because the animals weren’t fenced in! They were all around us.


I went to Duck Donuts for the first time… and the second… and the third. They’re fresh, made-to-order donuts with whatever toppings you want!


This is Cat #2! He’s an angel and my baby and I love him. His name is Malbec. ūüíē


I got liquid nitrogen ice cream for the first time and it was so cool???????


Me and Malbec bonding 



We went to a Nats game and their park is STUPENDOUS, but their mascots are a little creepy. This is my mom and I with Teddy. I also met Screech in an elevator, but didn’t get a picture!


My final picture: me and Lincoln (my second picture with him–I got one at Nats park too!). This was taken at Gettysburg on our way home.

All-in-all it was a great vacation! It was so lovely spending time with family I don’t get to see often and it was nice to see a different part of the country for a bit. I don’t travel nearly as much as I’d like to, but I’m hoping to do a bit more starting next year!

Bookworm Blogging, Discussions, Personal

Diversity in Books [discussion]

I’ve been seeing discussions¬†about this going around, and figured I’d throw my¬†opinion¬†into the ring. As a disclaimer: I am a queer cisgender white woman, so while I can speak to some aspects of diversity in media, I obviously can’t speak to them all and hope that y’all seek out the voices of other minorities to get their thoughts as well.

Diversity in media is so, so important. Growing up, I did not see many lgbtqia+ folx in books or movies or television shows. I lived in rural New England in a small town and heard slurs thrown around as insults on a daily basis. Even at a young age, it was clear to me that being gay was a Bad Thing.

I was so sheltered in my¬†exposure to lgbtqia+¬†information¬†that I didn’t understand anything about the fluidity of sexuality. Even as a child, I knew that I wasn’t straight because I liked girls. But I knew I wasn’t a lesbian because I liked boys. I spent years lost and confused, thinking I was some kind of freak of nature. In middle school, I met someone who identified as bisexual and it turned my entire world upside-down. I still remember the sense of relief that flooded through me–there were other people out there like me, and there was a word for what I was feeling.

Even today, living in a city and surrounded by lgbtqia+ friends, my heart skips a beat when I see an indication that someone may be Like Me. When I see two women walking down the street holding hands, when I see someone with a rainbow bandana, when another woman casually drops the word “my girlfriend” into a sentence. Butterflies fill my stomach and I feel giddy and a smile blooms on my face. I feel less alone, I feel relieved, I feel right in the world.

Growing up in rural New England, I didn’t get to see any of these things. Sure, I had a handful of lgbtqia+ friends, but we were a minority. Most of us were either not out or were getting called slurs behind our backs if we were. Even if we weren’t. Sometimes¬†kids just sensed there was something different about us, and those slurs were the only thing they had to pin to us.

One of the only things that made me feel better was seeing people like me in media. Seeing lgbtqia+ people on TV shows or in books was like the ultimate Where’s Waldo. I was starved for representation and would take any scrap I could get. Most of the media I took in reinforced negative stereotypes, queerbaited, and/or depicted lgbtqia+ lives in an overwhelmingly negative light (tragedy everywhere!). I had to make do with what I could.

Today, I feel a lot luckier. The world is a little more open, I live in a more accepting place, and it’s easier for me to find representative media. But there’s still so much missing! It’s still difficult to find “popular” media that doesn’t reinforce negative stereotypes or depict lgbtqia+ folx as living these sad lives. We deserve happy endings, too. We deserve realistic, healthy representations.

This doesn’t just go for lgbtqia+ representation, either. All underrepresented groups deserve this kind of representation. We all deserve to see ourselves as belonging to the world. Without that, it’s easy to feel lost.

I’ve seen some people say that it’s not necessary to intentionally seek out diverse media. I wholeheartedly disagree. While “popular” media is growing somewhat more diverse, it isn’t just going to happen on its own. Coming from a not-so-diverse area, a lot of my social circle is comprised of white Americans. So a lot of the media I’m exposed to is white, American media. In order to diversify my worldview, the onus is on me to seek out media that provides representations of groups of people I may be less familiar with.

I’m not saying we need to force ourselves to read things we don’t like. But if you like YA fantasy, maybe find a list of YA fantasy featuring people of color. If you like historical fiction, find historical fiction featuring lgbtqia+ main characters. The beautiful thing about bookish communities is that a lot of people love to give recommendations! If you can’t find a list of diverse books that fit your specific¬†interests, put a call out asking for¬†recs or use some google searches or consult a librarian. There is certainly diverse media out there that you will enjoy, but it’s unlikely to fall into your lap in large quantities. If you want to consider yourself an ally to any group of people, you need to do the work to support and understand them.

I also think it is a necessity to emphasize Own Voices in every way. Find Own Voices books, read Own Voices reviews. If I read a diverse book that talks about something I have no experience with, I try to look for Own Voices opinions on it before I write my review and before I form my final opinion. You may think the representation is fine, but maybe you’re not picking up on something that deeply hurts the people within that group. And that’s not your fault, but the opportunity to learn¬†more¬†is still there.

Authors writing about communities they don’t belong to can walk a fine line at times. I agree that it is not fair to expect perfection–of anyone–but if you are attempting to write about something you have not yourself experienced, you need to work to ensure that you are writing proper representation. Research is important, but I think having Own Voices folx provide feedback before you finalize your work is important as well. If you are writing a book about a bisexual woman and you’re straight, get the opinions of some bisexual women! Obviously no one person speaks for an entire group, but getting a few opinions from people within that group can be the difference between a flimsy caricature and realistic representation.

I don’t think I’m anywhere near perfect when it comes to reading diverse books (and that’s something I need to change) and my opinions are not the end-all of this discussion, but these are just some things I’ve been thinking about lately. I think it’s easy for people in positions of privilege to say that diversity is too overemphasized, but take a minute to imagine what it’s like not to see yourself anywhere. It’s easy to feel broken and like you don’t belong, like the world is saying “we don’t care if you’re here or not.”

Anyway, this got way heavier than I was expecting! If you made it this far, I applaud you. I guess my take-home here is really that diverse media has always been and continues to be important to me. Whether or not you feel it impacts you directly, supporting diverse media supports marginalized communities, both by making them more visible to the world at large and by making you, specifically, more aware of them and of their struggles and achievements.

Thank you all so much for reading. Please, please, please feel free to comment letting me know what your thoughts are! This is something I’m passionate about, but as I stated earlier, the discussion doesn’t end with my opinion.

Bookworm Blogging, Monthly Wrap-Ups, Personal

June Wrap-Up

Books I read:

  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. 4/5 stars, review.
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. 5/5 stars, review.
  • Policing the Black Man¬†edited by¬†Angela J. Davis.¬†4/5 stars, review to be posted July 11, 2017.
  • The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry.¬†4/5 stars,¬†review.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. 2/5 stars, review.
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus. 4/5 stars, review to be posted July 7, 2017.

Average rating: 3.83 stars
Books read: 6

Misc. Posts:

Reading Goal Progress:

This year I have read¬†30 books so far! My original goal was 35 for the year, so yesterday I bumped it up to 50. It’s kind of my white whale, for the 3 or 4 years I’ve been keeping track I haven’t hit 50 books. This year is the year, I can feel it. I’ve started prioritizing reading again and I’m loving it!

Anyway, this means I’m¬†6 books¬†ahead of schedule and have completed¬†60%¬†of my goal, which isn’t too shabby for being only 50% through the year.

Notable Posts by Others:

Blog Stats:

  • I currently have 43 followers, which I feel is pretty good, since I started this blog at the end of April.
  • In June, I had 190 visitors, which is over¬†4 times as many as I had in May
  • I¬†published 11 posts in June (4 more than May)
  • I had 338 views in June, more than 5 times as many as May!
  • I attribute this growth to connecting more with the book blogging community, blog hopping more, and posting more frequently.

Personal:

  • I went to a Red Sox game with my sister on the 11th and it was loads of fun, even though they lost and we were sad. In a brush with fame, we saw pitcher David Price driving out of Fenway after the game!
  • I FINALLY(!!!) got a Boston Public Library card as soon as I found out that you don’t need to be a legal resident of Boston to get one (I live in Boston currently¬†and still have a New Hampshire license BUT!! my paystub has my Boston address on it and proves I work in Boston)
  • I went on a ROAD TRIP!! My first vacation in years. It’ll have its own post.
  • I went to another Red Sox game with a friend of mine! (If you can’t tell, I kind of like going to baseball games)



Thanks for reading! How was June for you? Let me know in the comments. You can also follow me on Twitter and Goodreads.

Not Books, Personal

Anything but books [tag]

Very exciting, my first tag that I’ve actually been tagged in! The lovely Wendy over at what the log had to say tagged me for this one. ūüôā

Name a cartoon that you love.
There are probably lots of way better ones, but the first one that comes to mind is Superjail! It was one of my favorite shows in high school. I just love that no matter how many times you watch it, you’ll always see something new. Even though it’s wildly offensive and inappropriate. Very problematic.

What is your favourite song right now?
“St. Joe Keeps Us Safe” by Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties. UGH, my HEART.

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?
Netflixing! Although it’s been harder for me to watch TV for extended periods of time lately. I’d also say walking and listening to podcasts.

Image result for my brother my brother and me

What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?
I love to go horseback riding!! I used to be an avid rider, but I had a really bad fall and haven’t done it in years and years. I hope that when I start making more money I’ll be able to start back up again.

Image may contain: one or more people, horse and outdoor

(me smooching a cute mini horse at a friend’s wedding!)

What is your favorite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?
Cephalopods!! My little babies in the ocean.

Image result for nautilus

What is something unusual that you know how to do?
I don’t know how unusual it is, but I kind of know how to longboard!

Image may contain: one or more people

Name something you made last year and show us if you can.
A nautilus doodle!

No automatic alt text available.

What is your most recent personal project?
Honestly? This blog!

Tell us something you think about often.
Besides books? Tattoos.

Give us something that is your favourite.
When the weather is perfect and you feel nice and happy and you’re¬†curled up with a book in the sun.

Say the first thing that pops into your head.
I feel weird not using images with the last few questions, but I didn’t really have much to fit them!

I tag: whoever would like to do this next! It was fun. ūüôā

Not Books, Personal

When something clicks


If any of you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’ve been getting into yoga recently. I’ve done yoga a handful of times before, but it’s never become anything of a habit for me. A couple months ago, I found out that one of my coworkers does yoga regularly at a studio in Cambridge. She sent me a Groupon and I decided to buy one of the passes on sale so that I could check the place out, and maybe find a form of exercise that I actually enjoy.

Well, I did just that! I fell in love right away. The first class I took was sweaty (it’s hot yoga–the room is usually heated to 95 degrees Fahrenheit), extremely difficult (my coworker said that day happened to be more intense than usual as far as practice goes), and immensely rewarding. My body was shaking, I was surrounded by a puddle of sweat, and I realized that this was something I could get behind.

Since then, I’ve gone to probably 8 classes. I try to go two to three times a week, sometimes on weekends and somtimes before work. So far, I still love it. I love feeling almost every muscle in my body at work, and I love the mindfulness required of me. I have to pay attention to how every part of me feels, and how my breathing helps to move me through the poses. I have become much more mindful of my body outside of class. My posture is improving, I feel more confident about the way my body looks and moves, and I feel much more grounded in the world around me.

This all may sound stereotypical and like a bunch of hooplah, but yoga has given me an awareness of and appreciation for my body that I have never experiencced before.

Last night’s class was another turning point for me. Something within me just clicked. I could hold poses longer and my form was better. I felt rooted into my mat and found myself modifying less. My body felt stronger than it ever had before and I was filled with a combination of joy, pride, and love for myself. I know I still have a long way to go, and that perfection is unattainable, but this is a big step in the right direction. I can’t wait to see my body continue to progress and hope that my mind follows suit.