Unplug

I’m really not doing too hot on the whole blog thing, but it is something that I love to do, so I need to make it more of a priority for me. I spend so much time on my phone and my computer that sometimes writing feels like a chore. So, I’ve decided to delve back into what made me loving writing to begin with—books! I’ve had this ongoing list of books that I want to read and buy, but like many book lovers out there, I couldn’t help but be guilted by all of the books on my shelf that I purchased, but never got around to reading. I decided to pull out all the books that I hadn’t read yet, because surely there couldn’t be that many. I went shelf by shelf, watching my pile grow and grow to a whopping 28 unfinished books!

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I was shocked, but at the same time, I was like “Oh, it’s only 28?” In an attempt to motivate myself to read more, I gave myself a “no phone after 9PM” rule. Basically, this entailed setting my phone somewhere that it would not tempt me, and then forcing myself to be productive. It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t have the time to read, or finish that project you started 6 months ago, or whatever other thing you might have put off. The truth is, time doesn’t just run away from you. You must decide what is worth your time and what should take the backseat.

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The first night was difficult, but I forced myself to read about 50 pages of a book that I’d gotten for Christmas, started, and then put down sometime after last spring semester. The book was Stephen King’s On Writing. I had specifically put it on my Christmas list, because I wanted to get serious about writing again. Without the temptation of checking Snapchat or watching Instagram stories, I suddenly was not able to put it down. I brought it with me to school, to work, basically anywhere that would maybe allow me to read for a few spare minutes. I finished it in a couple of days, and I felt completely refreshed and inspired to write and read more.

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Side Note: Anyone who is even remotely interested in writing, and I mean like real writing—the kind of writing that makes you want to lock yourself in a room for months on end, building this world and creating this story that just seems to burn through you like wildfire—if you’re into that kind of writing, then you should definitely read this book. I could feel his love for writing and books so fervently that I couldn’t help but be reminded of when I felt that way, too. Anyway, this isn’t a review, but it really was so good, and helpful, and comforting, and terrifying—it was everything.

The point of this post is that after a week of reading, instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media accounts, I read almost 3 books. By distancing myself from the constant content being produced on Instagram, Twitter, and everything else I obsess over, I was also able to see clearly what I care about seeing and what I just scroll or click past. Ultimately, unplugging allowed me to better budget my time so that my 24 hours are spent doing what I care most about. I hope that in the few weeks I have before fall semester begins, I can fine-tune this whole unplugging thing so that I can use it to my advantage.

So, maybe try distancing yourself from social media for a few hours and see how it affects your day. Let me know what things you do to unwind!

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Thanks for reading! And I will be back next week with another post! I promise.

Luckiest Girl Alive: A Review

I haven’t been doing so well with my resolution to read more. Since January, I’ve only read two books. This past week, I read Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll, and it is so beautiful. I can already tell that it will be one of those books that you pick up year after year to read again.

I first heard of this book through a weekly newsletter that I am subscribed to. For those who don’t know, I am OBSESSED with Lena Dunham (blog post to come, I’m sure). She and one of the producers of Girls, Jenni Konner, started an online newsletter called Lenny Letter. Knoll wrote a piece in one of the issues a year ago today about her book. In the Lenny Letter, Knoll talked openly about how her personal experience with sexual assault led to the idea of her novel (you can read her piece here). She was so open and raw in her piece that, without even knowing anything else about her book, I had to read it. And on one fine day, I found myself once again strolling the aisles of Target when a familiar book cover caught my eye. I’m so glad it did, because I instantly fell in love.

The novel follows the soon-to-be Ani Harrison (formerly TifAni FaNelli), who strives to recreate herself in an attempt to alter people’s perception of who she was. She is a senior editor at The Women’s Magazine which is most comparable to our Cosmopolitan, and is engaged to the attractive, blue-blooded Luke Harrison. It would appear as though she has the perfect life, but very quickly you can tell that there is something unnerving about her. Throughout most of the novel, the reader is left in the dark about Ani’s past, but through small glimpses and memories, we slowly begin to understand the dark and twisted person that we’ve been unapologetically subjected to. Knoll creates a very realistic mindset that we get to experience throughout the entirety of the book.

Personally, I felt an instant (yet frightening) connection with Ani because her internal monologue mirrored my own in a dark way. Perhaps it is just a testament to Knoll’s writing that her readers can understand her character so well, or perhaps I should seek professional help. Either way, I definitely miss Ani’s quick wit and dark humor.

It is beautiful, inspiring, and suspenseful. I have told all (two) of my friends about this novel, and now I urge all of you to do the same.

Carve the Mark: A Review

I would like to start a series of book reviews, since another one of my goals this year is to read more. Ever since I started college, my leisurely reading has dwindled. I used to go through a book a week, and now I’ve been stuck on the same book since Christmas. So, I went and bought some books that I had been meaning to read and will be posting reviews as I read them.

Today’s review will be on Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark, which came out the end of January. I have always loved young adult fiction, though I am trying to branch out a little with my reading. There is just something about these kinds of books that suck you into something you never could have imagined. I’m a little biased since the Divergent series is one of my favorites, but this book was incredible. I’m still trying to mull it over. I didn’t think it was possible for Roth to create a world even more complex than the one within Divergent, but she did. Carve the Mark covers so much ground, but it never felt like it was too much. She has a very clear writing style so there isn’t extra fluff and I’m not left feeling confused about what just happened.

Carve the Mark is a dystopian novel about two (out of three) “fated” rival families. In this universe, which runs on a current (I would most easily compare this to the Force in Star Wars), your fates are decided when you are born. Only certain people know the fates of everyone, and you learn of your fate once you are at an appropriate age and have developed your currentgift (think back to the Force). In this novel, the fates are released across the universe so everyone knows everyone else’s fates, like how they will die or something they might overcome. Cyra and Akos are the two main characters in this novel, and the perspective switches between them throughout the book. I usually don’t like this approach, but because both of the characters were so unique, it wasn’t hard to keep track of whose mind we were in.

One of the greatest aspects of Roth’s books is her characterization. They seem so real; they have real pain, real pasts, real emotion. Good characters are what make a story. The plot could be complete shit, but if you have real characters with actual dimension, there’s at least something to work with.

I don’t want to give away too much, because I really loved this story. There’s action, violence (actually pretty gruesome at times—I was impressed), and of course, romance.

I hope you enjoy this review and choose to check this book out. This has been my first ever book review, so I’m sorry if it’s a little all over the place. Hopefully, I’ll get better as I go along. In the meantime, thanks for reading!

**Side note: I just love when authors use their title within the story, and the first time it came up, it was like the perfect puzzle piece falling into place in my mind. Sorry, I just had to share 🙂