Mid-Year Book Freak Out

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Original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03gz6k0IB-Y // https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_Wh0rPGfRg&t=6s

Please let’s not talk about how I’ve been absent for half a year, okay, thank you.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Man, does this one even need an explanation?

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.
Haven’t been reading much in terms of series (I’m saving all my fantasy for July & August), but The Hammer of Thor was really, really good. It was also my first ever book with a genderfluid character, which I loved immensely. Can’t wait for the last book this fall

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
The two Trials of Apollo books that came out so far, other than that – I don’t even know, I’ve mostly been reading classics this year, with an occasional contemporary novel that came up in one of my games on LiveLib.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
The Ship of the Dead. Riordan all the way!

5. Biggest disappointment.
I’ve got two books that were huge disappointments. First is The Catcher in the Rye. For whatever reason I had quite high expectations for this one and it turned out to be TERRIBLE. One of the worst books of the year.

The second one is Watchmen – I know, right??? It’s basically a staple, a must-read for all comics/graphic novel lovers, and yet, and yet, I just felt so detached. The characters were boring, some I downright hated, like Nite Owl II (but Rorschach was great and Dr. Manhattan was cool up until the very end.. ugh). There was just too much packed in those 400+ A4 pages. Too much.

6. Biggest surprise.
The Yellow Wallpaper. It’s tiny. Go read it.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
That’s a hard one. I read a lot of stuff by new authors, a lot of which I really enjoyed, but I only read one novel by each, or a couple of short stories, so can I really count that? Maybe next thing by them I read I hate completely, you know? Anyways!

Truman Capote – I’ve read three autobiographical short stories and his writing is BEAUTIFUL, I’m so excited to read more.

Thomas Hardy – that one needs a looong explanation and I’m not really feeling it, but I plan on reading at least one more novel of his this summer, so maybe then.

And I would also love to read more Margaret Atwood and Maya Angelou, absolutely.

8. Newest fictional crush.
I rarely ever have book crushes, so my new ones are all old ones re-introduced through new books of the series they are parts of, if that makes sense. For example, Bigby Wolf (*What a Man by Linda Lyndell starts playing*) and Sam Vimes (*the song gets ten times louder*). I just love decent men, what can I say?

9. Newest favourite character.
Atticus Finch. See #1

10. Book that made you cry.
All The Light We Cannot See made me cry a rIVER. Also No Matter the Wreckage was beautiful, Mrs. Ribeiro always makes me tear up, no matter if I read it or listen to it.

11. Book that made you happy.
… And this is me realizing I read a lot of angsty stuff this year. So I guess we’re back to Rick Riordan. Oh, and Oh, boy! It was so so so lovely.

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year.
So far this year I’ve seen Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Wonder Woman, and all three of them were amazing and technically count, right? If they don’t, A Monster Calls was beautiful, if a tad bit boring. But I loved the animated parts to bits, they were gorgeous.

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year.
I’m still shit at writing reviews, but I’ve actually been writing them! In Russian though, on LiveLib. Here they are. All of them are bad. You’ve been warned.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
It might actually be A Little Life – I absolutely adore the gorgeous simplicity of this cover.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
I’ve actually been keeping up with my Top 17 Books to Read in 2017 list! So far I have eight left: The Nightingale, Vanity Fair, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Beloved, Brideshead Revisited, A Room of One’s Own, Half of a Yellow Sun, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. I think I’m doing quite well, all things considered.

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Best of 2016

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I wasn’t planning on writing anything this year, but in the end decided to compile a quick list, just for myself, with no explanations. It was quite a nice year for me media-wise, with comic books, Hamilton and MCU dominating most of it. Also it’s so easy to forget by the end of the year all the things you loved at the beginning of it, jeez.

Books

10 // The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

9 // The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

8 // The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

// Fables (vol.1-4) by Bill Willingham

6 // Au bonheur des ogres by Daniel Pennac

5 // A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

4 // Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

3 // Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

2 // Preacher by Garth Ennis

1 // Hawkeye by Matt Fraction

Music

16 // Little Mix

15 // Gabrielle Aplin

14 // Lauren Aquilina

13 // One Direction

12 // BTS

11 // Hedley

10 // TWICE

9 // The 1975

8 // Florence + The Machine

7 // Sara Bareilles

6 // All Time Low

5 // Panic! at the Disco

4 // Halsey

3 // New Politics

2 // Daughter

1 // Hamilton

Movies / TV

1 // Marvel Cinematic Universe (all movies + Daredevil, Agent Carter s1)

2 // Moana

3 // Deadpool

4 // Pride and Prejudice (1995 mini-series)

5 // Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

6 // Star Trek Beyond

7 // Arrival

8 // Clueless

9 // Monty Python and the Holy Grail

10 // Teen Wolf (but it’s No. 1 in my heart forever and ever and ever okay)

2017 Resolutions

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After writing my bookish resolutions (sort of) yesterday I actually thought that that would be it, because in my head I have that list of all the things I kinda sorta want to do, but it’s all very abstract and tentative so why bother. But just now I’ve realized that maybe I should write that list down, so that in a year I’ll be able to look at it and be mad at myself. Also my memory is shite, so there’s that.

  1. One off-line day a month every month, and one off-line week in July or August, when I don’t have school. No internet whatsoever for a day/week with the exception of Spotify for music and Viber in case of emergencies.
  2. Write! Book! Reviews! I’m so bad at writing them, and there’s no way I’ll get better if I never start. At least in Russian.
  3. Update my bookstagram at least once a week. Even if it’s with a picture taken months ago, the updates should be constant.
  4. Same goes for this blog.
  5. Drink more water. Some days water is all I drink, and I drink plenty, but sometimes I fall into these Cola-slumps that last days if not weeks, and that’s not cool.
  6. Go to bed before midnight. Or at least 1am. Gotta start small.
  7. Quit dropping TV-shows. I don’t watch that many of them, and most of the ones I start are short, like Black Mirror, or only have one season out, and I really like them, so why do I drop them?
  8. Cut my spending and save money so that I always have some in case of emergencies.
  9. Study more. I know, I know, ugh, but I GOTTA.

Enough for now, I think.

2017 Reading Plans

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I have a list of 58 classics I want to read in 2017. I will probably add a few titles to that list over the course of the year, so basically it means an average of 5 classics per month. And while some of them are essays and plays, some are huge, like Vanity Fair and The Forsyte Saga. I’ll probably do a quick check mid-year to see how things go, because to be honest, I’m not feeling very optimistic at the moment.

Also I want to read as much feminist literature as I can get my hands on. Some of the titles are already on my list, but contemporary ones are not. There’s also the fact that many of them I simply can’t get here, because I live in the most useless country in the world, ugh.

Anyway, here’s the list:

1. J. Milton, Paradise Lost
2. C. Dickens, Great Expectations
3. W.M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair Continue reading

How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Living (Sort Of)

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How many times have you referred to the proverb ‘Better late than never’ in vain hope to justify yourself— to yourself? And what about Mark Twain’s ‘Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow’? How many times did it look like a fitting excuse? And every single time you end up with a low-quality end result, thinking to yourself ‘I could have done better, but now no one will know’ and ‘Next time I’m going to start it right away!’ (Spoiler alert: you never do). It is high time you stood up to that lazy part of yourself and defeated it once and for all!

One tip that most people will give you is to keep a planner. Write down your appointments, to-do lists, and most importantly — your deadlines. And here is another tip: if your project is due in three weeks, set the deadline for a week before that. That way even if you don’t do the entire project in that one night, you will have a good chunk of it done when you eventually get to it the night before the actual deadline. Also, you might actually forget about the real date and will have a full week to fix mistakes and improve it.

Do everything in one go! Obviously it won’t work with big projects (well, it can, if you do not care about its quality, but you absolutely should), but small tasks, like answering those e-mails that have been piling up in your inbox, or finally doing the dishes before they go moldy, should be tackled in one sitting. Washing one plate so that you can eat will most likely only make you more miserable when you get to the rest of them (especially if they do go moldy; ew).

Over the years I came to the realization that the only way for me to do something is to actually push myself to do it, to sit down in front of my laptop and just do it. Usually I put some music on, because silence makes my task look even more daunting than it is. But my tip is to put on something new, maybe that new album you have wanted to listen to for ages, or a new artist you have been meaning to check out since last year. Familiar, well-loved songs I know by heart just lead to impromptu sing-alongs that last well into the night, and in the end I just shrug, tell myself I will do it tomorrow, and go to bed.

Also, be aware of the breaks you take— five minutes means five minutes, not ‘just until I finish this episode’ or ‘I’ll go back to work at 3pm exactly!.. Well, 3:30 is as good a time as any’. Set a timer and stick to your timetable, and do not start anything that will require a lot of time during breaks. Have a quick snack or watch a BuzzFeed video, not a 35 minute long daily vlog— even if it is your favourite vlogger.

One problem I always face is overthinking. I start stressing about how much work I have to do, and all the research and preparation that goes into it, and I get myself so anxious that I just cannot start it, I’m too scared— that it is bigger than me, that I’m too stupid for it, that I should just quit. When I finally face my deadline, though, it turns out that I most definitely can, but then I don’t have enough time to do it well.

So don’t think about all the work you need to get done; just get it done.

(P.S. As you can probably tell from my months-long absence, I’m really bad at fighting procrastination. Any tips?)

T5W: Characters You Wouldn’t Want to Trade Places With

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Let’s not talk about this past month, please and thank you. Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. Any of John Green’s girls. Or boys. Or anyone.
  1. John Watson from Sherlock Holmes. I’d make a shitty sidekick; I’d rather be Sherlock.
  1. John the Savage from Brave New World. First of all, I hated this book so I wouldn’t want to be any of its characters. Also, poor boy.
  1. Charlie from Flowers for Algernon. A mentally disabled man becomes a lab rat for people who can increase his IQ, which works— for a while. As far as classics go, this is one of my favorites, BUT.
  1. Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief. Don’t know what to say without spoiling the whole book, but— Germany, WWII, just. Nope.