Wait, I have a blog?

So it’s been nine months since I posted. Sounds about right. I knew when I started this blog that I wouldn’t schedule posts for three times a week and that there would probably be months between posts. I didn’t mean for it to be almost a year.

In my defense, I work two jobs, and my mom died last year. But really I just kind of forgot about my blog. In fact, the only reason I am writing this entry is because I was inspired by this post at Mary Had a Little Book Blog.

I like Twitter. With the exception of now following all the rogue/resistance accounts, much of what I follow is book-related. I go to book events often, and I see the same people at many of them. I have become at least acquaintances with a few, am annoyed by some, and never spoken to others. (This is just my personality. As much as I want to be Leslie Knope, a large part of me is April Ludgate.)

I get promoting a book that you LOVED. (Capital, bold, underlined – I don’t have the option to underline, so italicized – loved.) But often the books that are shoved down our throats also have huge publishers behind them and huge promotional campaigns. With what’s going on with the NYT list right now, shouldn’t we be promoting lesser known books?

I am always late to the party. I don’t have/do the newest things. For heaven’s sake, I still haven’t seen Fantastic Beasts! I just finished Six of Crows a few days ago! That’s one reason why I titled my blog “I’ll Read it Later.” Chances are I’ll never focus on a book that just came out or has not been released yet. One reason is that I am not cool enough or in the know enough to be on publisher’s lists for ARCs. Another reason is that it’s so hard for me to decide what to read next, and I have to be in a certain mood for things. The amount of memoirs I have read/listened to in the last year is astonishing. In fact, My Lady Jane finally brought me back to YA and fiction in general because, while I love, love, LOVE YA, I was getting burnt out. (And yes, MLJ is backed by a big publisher, but it really was funny. Listen to the audio if you like that sort of thing. It made me smile/laugh many times. Very much a feel-good book.)

I’m not a big blog. I don’t post often (obviously), and when I do post, I have like, one reader. Hi, Cassie! But as I chose “Love” as my word for 2017, and as we all know with everything that’s going on, we can use a little more love in the world, I am going to try to post more about books I love(d). Books that have been out for a little while or maybe didn’t get that much press. (That’s my goal, at least. Basically it depends on what I read.)

I’m fortunate in that I get to teach high school seniors. (I teach dual-enrollment college English.) I’ve discussed books with my reader students, and I want to find out what actual teens are reading. So maybe I will post about books that they love. Maybe we can recommend books to each other more. Maybe we can gush more about books we love without being overbearing about it.

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A Tale of Two Lea(h)s

Note: Today is now Saturday, but I started writing it yesterday. Carry on.

Today is Friday, isn’t it? I’m on spring break and took off from my other job to actually have some time to myself, so every morning when I wake up (for the past two days) I remind myself of what day it is. It’s nice not having to set an alarm.

Last night I went to the Penguin Teen Tour at Parnassus! It was so much fun, and I really enjoyed getting to meet all of the authors. April is the only one I had met before, so the others were new. I’ve talked with Rachel on Twitter before, so it was so nice to finally meet her.

Before going to the event, I stopped by the Nashville Humane Association where I  volunteer. They close at 5, and I had planned to get sushi before heading to Parnassus, but I just wasn’t hungry. So at 5:30, I plopped down in a chair at Parnassus. I brought my headphones and mp3 player to listen to my audiobook, so the time went by pretty quickly.

reminiI’m currently listening to Troublemaker by Leah Remini. Lately I’m listening to audiobook memoirs that are read by the authors. I love it. This book is so interesting, scary, and funny. She goes into detail about the ins and outs of Scientology, and it sounds so complicated. I don’t know how those in it keep everything straight. But the book is so funny. I was sitting there and laughing – trying not to laugh out loud lest I seem like a crazy person – but instead I’m laughing to myself and still shaking. If anyone paid attention to me, I still probably looked crazy.

I am in love with this book. Remini’s Brooklyn accent is awesome, and it feels like she’s sharing everything with only you. I think most people are fascinated by Scientology as the only things we ever hear about it are really out there. While the religion isn’t what makes up 100% of the book, it does play a very large role as Remini grew up in the church.

micheleOn the other end of the spectrum, I also listened to Lea Michele’s Brunette Ambition. At first, I was excited about this book. I love Broadway and watched Glee back in the day. Michele got her start on Broadway as a child, and I wanted to hear more about that. However, her Broadway career was just a small sample of this book. Most of it is made up of lists – favorite foods, movies, designers, skin-care tips. There is an entire chapter about skin-care. She even lists things she keeps in her trailer refrigerator. I don’t care! Even her experience with Glee takes up about 20 minutes of the audiobook.

While I loved hearing about Leah Remini’s life, Lea Michele’s book would have made a great Cosmo article – not an entire book.

 

 

Monday Musts – Queen of Hearts, Lindsey Stirling, and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

I skipped last week’s Monday Musts (started by Lovin’ Los Libros) because I had no time. I teach and work a second job and just don’t plan. I blog as I feel like it, and sometimes there aren’t enough minutes in the day – and I refuse to go without sleep. 🙂 Anyway…

Everything on today’s Monday Must list is related. On the surface they have nothing in common at all. However, they all played a part in my trip to the TruthRiders event in Asheville a couple of weeks ago. My best friend lives in Knoxville, so I went to her house for the weekend, and we went to Asheville. First, it snowed. Well, actually, first, I had a migraine from hell and wasn’t sure I would be able to leave her house. Coke in a glass bottle and some Advil helped bring the migraine down to a more manageable state. Then it snowed on our way. In the mountains. (We kind of thought we were going to die.) We finally made it to the event about 30 minutes late. My head was still hurting, so I didn’t pay attention to anything that was said. I just tried to stay out of the way and will my head to stop pounding. We finally got up to Susan and Veronica after what seemed like a year. (Time goes by very slowly when you’re trying to function with a migraine.) Because I had TEN books for Susan to sign – most of which belonged to Johnny – my friend and I were the last people in line other than Stephanie Perkins and other local authors. We had decided that we wouldn’t talk forever so that we wouldn’t keep everyone even longer. Plus, we both had met Susan multiple times before, and I had met Veronica on an exciting tornado-filled night a few years ago.

Well wouldn’t you know that both of them are so delightful that we ended up chatting with them for far too long. It was Susan’s birthday, and I was happy to find out that we’re basically the same age. (She’s a year younger than me, but I thought she was several years older. My friend even mentioned that she looks like she’s gotten older in the sense that she now looks like she could legally buy beer. She in no way looks her actual age.)

Anyway, at the book store, they have a tree shelf thing with ARCs, and if you spend so much, you can pick out an ARC. Being that I am obsessed with all things Alice in Wonderland, I freaked out when I spied one book. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Books About Mental Illness

I’ve been feeling depressed lately. I suffer from depression and anxiety and have dealt with it the majority of my life. I’m kind of an Eeyore, but I’m okay with that. I used to be worse than I am. I remember my mother asking me as a teenager if I could ever be happy about anything. I told her no – I had nothing to be happy about. And that’s what depression does. It sucks the happiness – the life out of you. Apparently J.K. Rowling based the Dementors on her battle with depression, and that is a great way to describe it. You’re not necessarily sad, though you are sometimes sad. It’s this emptiness, numbness that takes over. And it sucks.

Edit: It’s gotten so bad that at work today I just wanted to cry, and I’ve felt like crap. I’m even missing an event tonight that I wanted to go to because I just don’t feel like it now.

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Image via strongmindbbraveheart

But I’m not the only one who deals with this. There are several books that deal with mental illness in one way or another. Several of these got me through high school. Others I’ve read in the past few years. But they are all worth reading.

  1. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  2. Girl, Interrupted – Susanna Kaysen
  3. Prozac Nation – Elizabeth Wurtzel
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
  5. OCD Love Story – Corey Ann Haydu
  6. The Virgin Suicides -Jeffery Eugenides
  7. “The Yellow Wallpaper” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  8. Furiously Happy – Jenny Lawson
  9. The Theory of Everything – Kari Luna
  10. The Complete Poems – Anne Sexton

While The Bell Jar is a novel, we know that Sylvia Plath heavily based it on her life. Girl Interrupted, Prozac Nation, and Furiously Happy are all memoirs. Anne Sexton’s poetry is so powerful, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” is my go-to any time I had to write a paper in college. OCD Love Story was difficult for me as I could not finish it. Since I suffer from anxiety, I got anxious reading it, and I had to stop. While I absolutely LOVED The Theory of Everything and prefer to read it as magical realism, it is really easy to read it as a girl is suffering from delusions and hallucinations. TToE, the poetry, and Furiously Happy are probably the only ones I could read when I’m in this headspace that wouldn’t make it worse.

Monday Musts – AGOS, Alessia Cara, Calligraphy

It is Monday again, and I have been fighting a headache since Friday. Yay! But I somehow have today off work (other than teaching), so I will enjoy that.

Since it’s Monday, it means it’s time for Monday Musts which was started by Jessica at Lovin’ Los Libros. It took me a while to come up with my listen and sees; I had the book immediately.

Must Read

20764879.jpgVictoria (V.E.) Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows comes out tomorrow! Since she is a local, her launch is also tomorrow at Parnassus. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Victoria multiple times and even told her I fear she thinks I’m stalking her because I’ve been to so many of her events and run into her at so many others. The Nashville YA community is great and close-knit. It’s hard NOT to run into the same people over and over again. AGOS is the second book in Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, and I can’t wait to read it. I loved ADSOM; it was different from everything else I was reading, and the characters and world-building are superb.

 

Must Listen

Though I go to a lot of book events, I am an introvert. Sometimes I have to convince myself to go places because friends or going or because it’s something I wanted to do weeks ago. Most of the time, though, I’d rather be at home. Alessia Cara’s song “Here” is the song of the introverts.

 

Must See

I love calligraphy. I can’t do it, but I love it. I think it’s so pretty, and it’s amazing to see how artistic people can be with just words. I also love videos of time-lapsed artwork, and I’ve been loving watching videos of people doing calligraphy. So here is a video of an artist creating famous logos by hand.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week – Days 3 & 4

So I was at work literally all day yesterday with no chance to make a blog post. So today I combine yesterday’s and today’s post for BBAW brought to you by The Estella Society.

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Yesterday’s theme was “Blame a Blogger.” What books have you read because of a blogger, OR what book have you pushed on other people?

As mentioned in a previous post, I read the Starcrossed trilogy because of Amanda, and I’m supposed to be reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy next because of Nori. (I’ve now finished the novellas. I just need the first book to become available at the library because my copies are signed, and I don’t like reading my signed books.)

Again, I’ve mentioned before my pushing of Perks on people. I’ve also pushed Harry Potter on people who have never read it because you NEED to read it!

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Day 4’s theme is “Community Connection.” How do I stay connected to the community?

First off, Twitter. I actually joined Twitter because of a book event. It was my first book event. Myra McEntire and Amy Plum were at Parnassus in May of 2012. Myra especially kept talking about Twitter, and I probably joined when I got back home. (Fun fact: there were a TON of bloggers there. Amy asked me if I was a blogger to which I replied (in a much nicer tone than in my head), “No. I’m in grad school.” I had very little time for fun reading whilst in grad school, and the bloggers there seemed HARD CORE to me. Even now that I do have a blog, it’s casual.) (Also, I keep typing the words as “bloog” and “blooger.”)

Events! I am fortunate to live close enough to Parnassus, Nashville’s indie bookstore, to regularly go to great events. (I’m not so close that I go there everyday; it’s still way across town and very trafficky.) Nashville is also home to the Southern Festival of Books that is held every October. Fall is book season because YallFest is in November, and (so far) friends and I have gone every year but the first one.

I tend to drag Cassie places – I feel it’s sometimes against her will. Having met in grad school when we started in 2011, we had known each other a year when I discovered the Decatur Book Festival. I saw that Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, was going to be there, and I immediately either called or texted Cassie to ask what she was doing the next weekend (it may have been a week and a half, but it was short notice) and tell her that we needed to go to Georgia.

The Southern Kentucky Book Festival is held every April in Bowling Green, which is where I went to grad school/taught for a bit, and is only an hour away. While I get jealous of all the events Texas seems to get (I know Texas is big, but the Dallas area has a lot of stuff), I’m fortunate to live close enough to go to several major events a year.

One event I have traveled to twice, paid for and missed once, and am going back to next year is RT, baby! RT is the Romance Times Convention. I seriously went because I met Kiera Cass at YallFest, thought she was super sweet and adorable, and wanted to see where else she would be. (Stalker, much?) But RT that year was in Kansas City, MO, which was only about 8 hours away, so I decided to go. (Fun fact: I was finishing grad school at the time. I had my oral exam and one class left, and I started driving up there that night after class and passing my oral exam. Had I failed, the trip was to cheer me up, but I celebrated!)  It was such an awesome experience, and I roomed with Heidi and Erica. The next year, it was in New Orleans, and a friend and I went down for Teen Day. (I paid for it last year in Texas but at the last minute had car trouble and had to miss it.) Next year it’s in ATLANTA!

I’m an introvert and don’t like people in general, but I find that book people don’t count. These events are crowded, but I’m okay in them because I’m surrounded by my people. I’m an outgoing introvert, so I can talk to a brick wall, and I’ve found talking to people in line makes the time go by faster. Shannon, Tiffani, and Cassidy are just a few of the awesome people I’ve met at book events.

You can find me on Twitter, Goodreads, and Instagram. I’m always down for talking books!