venerdì 23 agosto 2019

The pressure of blogging consistently

When I started this blog at the beginning of this year I planned on posting a new blog post twice a week, on Tuesdays and on Fridays. It seemed like a good plan, a plan I could easily stick to, two posts a week is not a lot of content and it’s not impossible to do. I’ve kept up with it quite well for most of this year, but I have slipped a couple of times over the Summer. In between going on holiday and still trying to figure life out, I didn’t always have time to write. 

That last statement though isn’t exactly true, I could have made more time to write, I could have set aside a couple of hours here and there to write more. But the truth is I didn’t and the main reason behind that choice is that I most likely wasn’t having a good week and decided to treat myself and do something else instead. 

I love writing and I love books, as you might know by now, so I don’t want to make this seem like a chore cause at the end of the day it’s just a hobby. It’s not a job, I’m not paid for it, I just like talking about books I’ve loved reading. That’s the main reason I decided to open this blog in the first place. 

At the same time the online world always makes me feel like I’m not online enough (but maybe that’s its way of luring me it), that I’m not putting out enough content and that’s why I don’t have a very successful blog, that I’m not constantly on and available. The truth is that as a hobby I should just feel free to do this whenever, but the internet works in a funny way and the less consistent you are with your content the less visible you are. 

I don’t want to be that person that cares so much, but at the same time I kind of am that person. Because I care about this blog, I care about the effort I put into it, I just care (maybe a bit too much at times). And also because I’m a perfectionist, I always want to be on top of things and do more than I’m asked to do. 

So instead of making “new bookish content”, I’m writing this post, maybe as a way of feeling better or maybe as a way of telling myself that it is alright to not always be on top of things and that I can let go of things every now and then. This is no way me justifying myself, because I don’t have to. But I’ve been thinking about this for a while, about the pressure I put on myself to always be active so I don’t end up being irrelevant and I guessed that if I feel like that so frequently, others might feel it too. So if you are feeling like that know that it is alright to let go, to live in the moment without posting about it, it’s alright to take a break or not write if you don’t have anything interesting to say and just wait for the next post. 

martedì 13 agosto 2019

My reading habits

I’ve seen a few tags on some other lovely book blogs on the topic of ‘reading habits’ and I’ve been considering doing a post on one of those even though no one tagged me (also if you ever want to tag me in any tag feel free to do so, I’m always up for it). But then I realized that I could simply talk about my personal reading habits without a tag with specific questions to answer, so here they are: 

I’m 100% a mood reader, I never follow a specific TBR, beside the list of books I’ve already bought, but if I make a last minute purchase is very probable that I’ll read that book before others I’ve owned for a while. I’ve never been able to follow a reading plan, cause I always end up reading whatever book I feel like reading at the time, depending on the season and as I said my mood. 

I prefer reading in silence, I’m not a big fan of background noises and I could never read whilst listening to music because even though I’m all for multitasking I find that if I try to do that I won’t focus on either. I don’t necessarily need complete silence, especially because that’s really hard to achieve in between loud neighbours and public transport. But I’ve always been the kind of person that would never be able to read (or study) with the tv on in the background or some music playing. 

I’d pick paperbacks over hardbacks all my life. Even though I realize that hardbacks are considered “higher quality”, I still think that paperbacks are much easier to read, hold up and carry around with you. I don’t mind breaking a spine (yes I know, controversial!) and I also don’t mind if my books look really lived and well loved. Also when they end up in my bookcase you can’t really notice it after all. 

My favourite reading spot is my sofa, I very rarely read in bed, I’m that kind of person that needs to keep separate the place where I sleep and that where I’ll do everything else, which for me is the sofa. But if I could pick any other place to read I’ll always choose by the sea, there’s just something extra special about reading a good book on the beach and have the memory of that book tied to that place forever. 

I’m not too picky with what I use to bookmark my reading progress, even though if I remember to take it with me I do prefer using a cute bookmark. But to be completely honest I kind of always end up using whatever piece of paper is closest to me. I never make dog ears and I never ever write or underline anything in the books I read. I think that’s mainly because I read fiction most of the time (but I do take pictures of my favourite book quotes and post them on my bookstagram stories, you can see them all in my saved highlights), but if I really had to write down something I would always use a pencil. 

I generally try to finish a chapter before I put a book down, unless the book I’m reading has extra long chapters and that’s just not doable. I never know when I’m going to pick the book up again, usually the next day, but that’s not always possible, and leaving a book in the middle of a chapter or a scene would just be really confusing. 

As I said before I always mainly read fiction, I love losing myself in a good contemporary romance or YA novel, and I never read more than one book at a time. Sometimes I race through a book and I read in just a day or two, but I never pick up more than one book at a time, I guess my brain just prefers sticking to one story at a time. 

What are some of your reading habits? Do we have anything in common? 

venerdì 9 agosto 2019

On my TBR: 7 feminist books I want to read

I’ve never made a monthly TBR like many people do in the bookish community. A monthly TBR consist in selecting a certain number of books that you plan on reading during the following month. I’ve always been more of a mood reader, that reads whatever I feel like reading next, and that’s why I’ve never made a monthly TBR. 

But I do have what I call my “digital TBR” which basically consists of my ‘to-read’ shelf on Goodreads. That list is pretty much endless and every time I think I’ve read a good portion of it I always end up adding more and more books. I’ve previously blogged about books that have been on that TBR since forever and books with blue covers (you wouldn’t believe how many I still have on my list, blue must be the most popular cover colour) and more recently summery YA books I can’t wait to read

But today I want to share with you 7 feminist books that I have on my TBR and that I really want to read, this list contains fiction and non fiction books. As feminism is one of the things I’m most passionate about and books are another thing I’m always talking about, I feel like it made sense to create this list. 

“Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men” by Caroline Criado Pérez: I’m a big fan of numbers and statistics, especially when it comes to equality issues, cause whenever I find myself having a discussion with someone on that topic only numbers seem to hold some meaning to other people in regards to feminism. So it makes total sense that I can’t wait to read this book, even though I’m not usually into non fiction, as it shows us how the world we live in has been built while systematically ignoring women and their needs. It does so by exposing the gender data gap, a knowledge gap at the root of gender discrimination. 

“The Woman In The Photograph” by Stephanie Butland: you probably know by now that Stephanie Butland is one of my favourite authors and that her book ‘Lost For Words’ is my favourite book of all times (I know I’m always recommending it to everyone). It won’t come as a surprise that her latest book is one I really want to read, but it makes this list because in the form of fiction it covers the topic of feminism, now and back in the 60s, and the fight for equal pay.  

“Asking For It” by Louise O’Neill: I’ve been wanting to read her books for a while now but I haven’t gotten around to buying them yet. This novel, like most of Louis O’Neill’s work, is based on feminist issues, specifically those of consent and living as a woman in today’s society, in which victim blaming is more prominent than ever. I’d love to read this book because I think it would be interesting to see how it plays out in the form of a novel instead of a non fiction book. 

“Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay: this book consists of a series of essays in which the author looks at herself, at society and at feminism through their evolutions and the way they are today. A non fiction book that shows how the culture we consume becomes who we are and how we still need to work to be better, to do better. (This was also highly recommended by one of my bookstagram friends, thank you @theliteraryheorine)

“Things A Bright Girl Can Do” by Sally Nicholls: this is the only YA novel I’ve included in this list and it was also recommend to me on Instagram. We all know by now how much I love YA books and I can’t think of anything better than such a book that also covers everything feminism, as it follows the experiences of three young women as they join the Suffragettes. 

“We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I guess everybody has heard of this book at least once before, I know that I’ve heard people talk positively about it more times than I can count. So of course it made it to my list of feminist books to read. This book is an adaptation of her TED talk, which I’ve watched and loved, and it looks at today’s feminism and today’s discrimination of women, both in the US and the rest of the world.  

“Men Explain Things To Me” by Rebecca Solnit: this essay on feminism, mansplaining and the ultimate problem of silencing women, goes from hilarious and awful encounters to darkest side of when women’s cries for help are ignored. 

Have you read any of this books? If so which one should I start from? Do you have a favourite feminist book that you think I should absolutely read?

martedì 6 agosto 2019

'The Summer I Turned Pretty' by Jenny Han | Review

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty 
Author: Jenny Han 
Published by: Puffin  
Pages: 276
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Isabel Conklin, better known as Belly, measures her life in summers. Between the months of June and August everything good and exciting happens. That’s when she goes away to the beach house in Cousin’s Beach with her mum and brother, but more importantly with his mum’s bestfriend Susannah and her two sons Conrad and Jeremiah. They’ve always acted like Belly is just their little sister too, but to her they’ve always been more than brothers. She’s had a crush on the unavailable and mysterious Conrad for as long as she can remember and Jeremiah has always been her best buddy. But everything changes, for better or for worst, and Belly does too, in a not so subtle way. Their summer is about to change as well, everything feels different: Belly meets Cam, Conrad is even moodier than he used to be and Jeremiah might start to look at Belly in a different light. 

“It was almost like winter didn’t count. Summer was what mattered … Like I don’t really begin living until June, until I’m at the beach, in that house.”

“For the first time, I felt it. Pretty, I mean. Every summer up to this one, I believed it’d be different. Life would be different. And that summer, it finally was. I was.”

This book is the first one in a trilogy and I knew I had to read it since I’ve read ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ also by Jenny Han and loved it as much as I did. Since it’s part of a trilogy I bought the three in one edition of these books, but regardless I’m making individual reviews of each one. The fact that I have a massive book to read, made of the three books, has had quite a big impact on the way I perceived this book. I didn’t actually notice I was nearly done with the first book and I think that had a reflection on the way I perceived the story too. For a while, in fact, it didn’t feel like something big was happening, but as I said that feeling for me was tied to the fact that I nearly saw it as a whole book instead of three whilst reading it. 

As always I really enjoyed Han’s writing style and the way she builds her characters and her stories, after the first few chapters it felt as if I had known Belly my whole life. Her characters are always unique and relatable at the same time, I don’t know how she manages to do that, but it’s a nice thing to find in her books time and time again. I also liked the change of getting to see Belly’s life before the present time, through flashbacks, even though I might have preferred more of a continuity within the story and longer flashbacks all tied together. 

Similarly to Belly I didn’t fully grasp the importance of the story and specifically certain things about the story until I got to the end of the book. Even though I had kind of understood a certain something that was happening (no spoilers here) and that Belly didn’t notice, similarly to that hadn’t really and fully understood certain aspects of the story until I got to the end of it 
A common feeling that runs through the book is that the way Belly sees herself is tied to the way she thinks other people see her as (i.e. the annoying little sister or the ugly friend). That feeling particularly resonated with me, especially looking back at how I used to see myself based on what others might think of me. That’s why something that Belly’s mum always tells her (quoting Eleanor Roosevelt) also particularly resonated with me: “Nobody can make you feel like anything, not without your permission”

Have you read this book series yet? If so what did you think? (No spoilers please, as I still have to read the second and third book). 

giovedì 25 luglio 2019

Why I started my bookstagram and 3 reasons why you should too

If you asked me the question ‘why did you start a blog?’ or the question ‘why did you start a bookstagram?’ the first answer that would come to my mind is pretty straight-forward: because I love books and talking about books. That’s the main and first reason why I started this blog in January of this year and even more why I started a bookstagram right before that. 

At the very beginning of this journey I thought that having a bookstagram was the right way to help my blog grow, but I learned pretty quickly that first of all growing a blog that talk about books is harder than it seems and secondly, but probably more important, that there’s more to having a bookstagram than promoting my blog. 

If you don’t know what a bookstagram is: it’s a Instagram account where you mainly post book pictures and mainly talk about books. But it’s more than that, over the past 7 months I’ve learned that bookstagram means first and foremost community. It’s a way to be a part of a larger community of people that love books just like you do and no matter what kinds of books you like to read you will find your people. 

The bookstagram community has been the most welcoming and supportive community I’ve been a part of online. There is always someone ready to listen, encourage you and cheer you on whether you need some motivation to get back into reading or whether you’re dealing with life stuff outside of book land. That’s the main reason why I recommend making a bookstagram too, if you love books enough to hear a lot of people talk about them 24/7 and if you crave that sense of community. 

Secondly having a bookstagram is the perfect way to feed your book cravings. You constantly find new books you want to read and once you’ve found the people that you have the most in common with you’ll get the best book recommendations. Most people on there are always pretty honest about what they liked and what they didn’t like about a book, with long or short reviews that will make you TBR pile the tallest it’s ever been (okay maybe that’s not the best thing for your bank account but you know new books!)

And finally the third reason why I opened my bookstagram account and why I think you should too: reading books is my favourite thing in the whole world and the second best thing is talking with other people about said books, cheering on your favourite authors and promoting the best books you’ve read. All of that it’s pretty easy to do through your bookstagram, so if you’re on the hunt for the perfect outlet for all your bookish thoughts and interest than you definitely need a bookstagram. 

I’ll share some of my favourite bookstagram accounts soon in another post, in the meantime if you don’t follow me there already you can do it here and make sure to let me know your bookstagram handle in the comments so I can follow you back, I’m always on the hunt for new accounts to follow. 

mercoledì 17 luglio 2019

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge | An update

At the beginning of a new year for the past few years I’ve taken part in the Goodreads yearly reading challenge. If you won’t know what it is: the challenge consist in setting yourself a reading goal for the coming year and you do so by choosing the number of books you would like to read. 

Up until this year I’ve always picked quite low numbers, simply because I was a university student and I already had a ton of books to read to prepare my exams, so I didn’t want to put a crazy amount on pressure on myself to read more books that I would have time to read. You can read all about the books I read last year here.  

But I graduated late last year, so at the beginning of this year I thought I would have all the time in the world to read more and therefore set myself an ambitious goal: read 30 books. It seemed like an achievable goal, and don’t get me wrong it kind of is, especially compared to the one other people set themselves. 

As always comparison is my biggest enemy. I chose that number because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to read as much as other people that I follow online, but I still wanted a number that would seem impressive. We’re now more than six months into the year and I’ve felt overwhelmed by that challenge and that number for a couple of months. 

As I’m writing this blog post, I’ve read 7 books (nearly 8) and it feels nearly impossible to reach that end goal by December. I know that it’s indeed possible, but at the same time that big number isn’t motivating me to read more, it’s just making me feel like a failure. Because as a self-professed book lover I should read more right? 

I see other people online talking about achieving their reading goals, of 50 or more books, already and we’re only halfway through the year. And as I look at their achievements and I cheer them on for being so amazing, I loose track of the aim of the challenge and even more the reason why I read. 

I read for many different reasons, but I’m 100% sure I shouldn’t and don’t read to reach a certain number of books. So even though a challenge should be there to motivate me, I know that it hasn’t done that in a while. Following the suggestion of a few lovely people that messaged me on Instagram I decided to lower that big number to it’s half: 15. I have a new goal I want to reach, I want to read 15 books this year. It’s a bit more than what I’ve been able to read these past few years and it also seems achievable to the point of motivating me to actually reach that goal. 

Do you take part in the GoodReads yearly reading challenge? If so do you find it motivating? 

lunedì 8 luglio 2019

My 5 favourite books set in Summer | #booksandseasons

I talk about my favourite books and my favourite genre a lot here on the blog and on my bookstagram as well. So if you’ve read any of my blog posts before you’ll know that my favourite genre is contemporary YA novels, specifically written by women and set in Summer. I don’t have a specific reason why I love books set in Summer more than those set in any other season, maybe the fact that I was born in June has had some sort of effect on the season I love the most. 

Anyway, I made a similar post this past January all about my 5 favourite books set in Winter and I’ve wanted to make one about Spring too but somehow I haven’t read enough books set in that season to make an actual list of favourites. But today I want to talk about my 5 favourite books set in my favourite season: 

“The Unexpected Everything” by Morgan Matson: it won’t come as a surprise that not one but two of her books have made this list, she is after all my favourite author ever and it’s actually hard for me to pick one of her books over the other, I’ve resolved the struggle by picking two books out of five. All of her books so far have been set in summer and they are all contemporary YA novels, which is exactly the kind of books I love to read. Of this one I particularly loved the focus on friendships dynamics and the concept of having to scrap your plans and start over, which hits close to home a bit too often. 

“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson: this one in particular is the first one I’ve ever read (because yes I didn’t follow the publication order) and therefore will always have a special place in my heart. I connected with Emily, the main character, on so many levels and I felt her struggles deeply. I also really love the spin she put on the concept of having a list of things you want to (or in this case are force to) achieve by the end of Summer. 

“Stay Sweet” by Siobhan Vivian: I’ve talked about this book quite a lot too, it is one of my favourites after all. It has everything I look for in a summery YA novel: friendship struggles, a new and exciting love interest with a bit of enemies to lovers vibe, and that theme of ‘I’m a confused teen that doesn’t want time to go by so fast’ which basically represents my whole life motto. 

“The Upside Of Unrequited” by Becky Albertalli: this one is more of a recent addition to my list of favourites. I’ve, in fact, read it earlier this year and it was the first book I’ve ever read from this author. This book was everything I expected and more, I once again connected deeply with the main character Molly, specifically her introversion and the struggles that come with it. Read my review here

“Ps: I Still Love You” by Jenny Han: I couldn’t leave this book out of the list, you all know how much I love Jenny Han and her books, specifically ‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’. That whole series was spectacular (and the movie adaptation certainly didn’t disappoint) and this book, the second one in the trilogy, is the only one set in Summer, so absolutely perfect for this list. 

Have you read any of these books? Which are your favourites set in Summer?