The Books That Shaped Me: Part 3

I honestly thought that I would only be doing one post for this series but the more that I thought about all the books that have meant so much to me over the years, the more that I realized there were way more than could fit into one post.

Part 1 consisted of the books that I read throughout elementary school. Part 2 was all the books that I read throughout middle school. And now this post, Part 3, is going to showcase all the books that I read throughout high school. There could possibly be a Part 4 someday with books that I read in college (my first attempt at college anyways) but I’ll have to see, I might also lump a few of them into the end of this post because there really weren’t many that I read. Homework kinda got to me and I avoided reading so much!

So high school was when I discovered BookTube and Goodreads. I joined Goodreads in November of 2011 when I was a freshman.

Books by Sarah Dessen

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Her books are some of my favorite YA contemporary books and whenever I need something happy to read I pick up one of hers. I haven’t read all of her books yet but I’m working on it. She and Maureen Johnson are two of my absolute favorite authors and I will probably buy every single one of their publications from here on out.

The Top 8 series, which then turned into my love for Morgan Matson starting with Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

I don’t even remember why I got the Top 8 series, I’m sure I had a gift card to Barnes and Noble, looked inside, liked the formatting and then bought all of them. But the Top 8 series were written under Matson’s pen name, Katie Finn. I’m not even sure when I found out that Finn was Matson but I remember being absolutely shocked because I had had books under both of her names for years before ever realizing.

Dystopian Books: Hunger Games, Delirium, Shatter Me, Divergent)

I would honestly be shocked by anyone who was into reading from around 2012-2014

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

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Her books introduced me to graphic novels! And boy did I reread Smile so many times, like I would be genuinely interested to see just how many times I checked it out from the library back then before I owned my own copy of it!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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Oh good ole TFIOS. I don’t think I could make a post about books I read in high school without mentioning this gem. This was also the first ever signed book that I owned and I literally shrieked and danced around my kitchen when I saw that that’s what my grandma had managed to purchase.

The Possession of Cassie Quinn by Kathryn Knutson

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My sister bought this book at a local bookstore in the town that my grandparents live near. After she read it, I picked it up and I loved it. I’ve read both this book and her second book and I’m so glad that I liked them because I love having the opportunity to support a Minnesotan author.

It took me a really long time growing up to get into horror things. I mean, I used to be terrified by the show Ghost Hunters and either had to leave the room or put on headphones to block out the noise. I was scarred pretty early on in life by the movie Arachnaphobia and while I’m still terrified by spiders, other horror stuff doesn’t really scare me anymore. I love the spooky stuff.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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This was one of the only classics that I was forced to read in high school that I genuinely enjoyed. The story sticks with me even to today and there are just so many quotes from this that make me feel all the feels.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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And this one is not on here for a good reason. I HATE this book, like it is one classic that I genuinely despise. I usually dislike classics for one reason or another (most of the time being that I have the hardest time reading them) but I actually have a deep seated hatred of Great Expectations. I’m now kind of fuming right now just thinking of it and almost want to write an entire blog post dedicated to my hatred of this book.

Quiet by Susan Cain

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I read this book so that I could write a paper about it in my tenth grade English class. I have absolutely no recollection what that paper was about but

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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One of the first books I’ve ever read where I saw myself. It hurt. It’s still absolutely everything to me.

Anna and the French Kiss/The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight/My Life Next Door

I also started to get really into YA contemporaries when I was in high school. I bought Anna and the French Kiss at a Borders Books store on the way back from New York one summer (does anyone else fondly think of Borders? I might like it too much because I don’t have any access to small book stores and I’ve never been a big fan of Barnes and Noble). I even saved the sticker from AatFS because I wanted to preserve the last Borders purchase I ever made.

Anyways, I very quickly fell in love with the contemporaries that I read. The idea of having an open ended happy ending just made my heart happy. I devoured happy endings as much as I could, breaking my own single little heart time and time again. I pretended that they taught me a lot about what I wanted in relationships and in guys.

So overall, my reading in high school was full of contemporaries, classics (forced reading), and dystopian. I definitely started to hone in on my favorites and began to read a bit more critically than I had in the past.

Now that I’ve written about a lot of the books that have shaped my reading and myself over the entire course of my life, I’ve started to think about a new series of posts. I would really like to start rereading some of the books featured on these posts and discuss them now. Why I loved them when I first read them, why I still love them today (or not love them depending), and if they still hold up today. I’ll preface it all by saying that I almost always fail with my post series though so we shall see how far this idea takes me.

What were some of your favorite books in your teenage years?

 

Guilt and Burnout

So I decided to take a break.

And it wasn’t because this blog made me feel burnt out or stressed. In fact, I have so many post ideas for this blog that I’m a little overwhelmed! However, this blog doesn’t provide me with any income and because of that, I work full time outside of putting effort into this blog. And the longer that I work my full time job, the more I’m feeling burnt out on anything that actually brings me joy.

My acid reflux is back, to the point where I can’t even bend over when I wake up in the morning or I risk throwing up (sorry if that’s TMI). I’m also falling asleep before 8:30 almost every single night. Literally nothing is bringing me joy (like I got accepted into an online college program and I cried because I was scared over how I’m going to balance full time work and full time school instead of getting excited over finally going back to school). So I got burnt out and this blog took the brunt of that. And I felt guilty, so so guilty over taking a break because this was the last thing that I wanted to take a break with. If anything, I need a break from my full time job! But that will never happen…

It’s frustrating to feel guilty over needing a break. But I don’t know what else to do. I’ll be starting classes at the end of August and I know that school needs to be a priority, but I also really need the income that my full time job provides. I’m at a crossroads that looks like the only choice that works is to let myself continue to get burnt out and continue to be exhausted and sad all the time because I can’t prioritize my happiness. And I know that sounds awful but I have no idea what else to do.

I’ve been off this blog for almost two weeks and it would be so easy to just continue to not post. Like that would be so easy, but that’s not what I want to do. I just finished rereading The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan and was so inspired to start writing again but when everything else in my life piles up I just break.

I really miss when seeing my “path” was easy. I miss having simple choices and being inspired and joyful. It’s been a long time since then.

So anyways, to make a long story short. I’m back. (LOL how many times have you heard that line from me??) I’ve got a number of posts I’ll be working on this weekend, I’m planning on spending most of Saturday at the library since I have to register for classes too. I just really hope that something magically happens that makes every decision clear to me in the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading my drama. Happy Friday.

FOMO In The Book Community

So unrelated but also sort of related… I finally took the Enneagram test the other day and it was revealed unto me that I am a Type 6 and ooooohhhh boy did I feel SEEN when I read the description for the type.

Now the biggest thing with being a Type 6 is that I’m scared. Of everything. Like wow, this has never made more sense to me in my entire life! And right now, one of the things that I’m really struggling with is FOMO. And this post will specifically talk about FOMO in the book community that has been created online.

I would absolutely love to start a BookTube channel but I feel as if I could never gain momentum in such a vast community. I also feel like this blog will never gain momentum, nor will my Twitter or Goodreads. I just feel like I’ll be stuck within this tiny little bubble writing for the two people who seem to read all of my posts.

And yes, I’m well aware that I don’t need a vast amount of followers or anything like that but I have a lot of opinions that I want to share and I want them to be seen widely! So right now I’m struggling with a lot of FOMO regarding the online book community. I think part of this is having seen so many posts about this most recent BEA and Book Con but also just because I’ve been following an increasing number of bookish people on Twitter and I always want to participate in conversations but I almost feel like I don’t have the right to just reply to these public tweets.

I started filming clips to try and make a reading vlog a few weeks back and I keep trying to tell myself to film because I know that I’ll have fun editing the footage once I actually film stuff. I took a film production class back when I was still in school and I had so much fun creating videos and I miss that aspect of being creative. Digital art is how I started off feeling like I was good at being creative and I want to start that up again. At this point I don’t think that I’ll ever feel confident enough to post anything to YouTube and that makes me sad.

For once I just want to feel like I’m part of a community instead of only sitting on the sidelines. My whole life I’ve been on the sidelines. Every friend I’ve had has always had someone that they’re closer to, every group I’ve been in I feel uncomfortable for one reason or another. I constantly feel like the odd one out and it sucks.

But despite all of this, I’m going to continue to persevere and maybe someday I’ll find a bit of a community for myself. That’s all I can hope for.

Also, on a side note, I hit 100 followers on here and I just wanted to say that I am so very thankful for everyone that has chosen to follow me since I began this blog back in 2015. It’s been quite the journey since then and I wanted to genuinely thank you for sticking with me no matter how long you’ve been a follower. Thank you!!

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Books That Shaped Me: Part 2

This is a continuation of my list of books that shaped me that I started in this post. These books in this post though are going to be ones that I read a little later in my reading “career”. Basically that means that these are the books that I was completely obsessed with while I was in middle school.

Books by Jodi Picoult

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I think the first book I ever read by her was The Pact and the Between the Lines books she wrote with her daughter are still some of my favorites!

Books by Maureen Johnson

I need to get her Truly Devious series still!! She is an auto-buy author of mine and also one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter.

The House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast

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One of the girls who was in my middle school friend group recommended these to me and we both obsessed over them for most of eighth grade. Like we were reaaaally obsessed.

Twilight

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Except I had the lovely movie cover mass market paperback edition from my grandma lol. And to this day I only like the first two books!!

Graceling

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My grandma bought me this book and Twilight for Christmas when I was in seventh grade. I think I read both of them before I even left my grandma’s house that winter break. Though I’m not a huge fan of the two other books in this series Graceling is still up there as a favorite.

The Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter

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I got the third book in this series without realizing that it was the third one (I feel like this happened to me a lot with series when I was a kid… But a lot of books I read were okay to be read out of order so I guess I never really thought about it a lot.) and then had to go back and get the other ones. I really want to reread this to see how it stands up today!! I know my library has all the books so maybe I’ll work through those this summer.

The Mother-Daughter Book Club series by Heather Vogel Frederick

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You guys!! I didn’t realize that there was a seventh book!! I need to get this now to complete my collection! I really want to reread this series this summer too. I love these books!

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

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Books by Ellen Hopkins

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I don’t really read her books anymore, they just make me sad. But I loved how they were written in verse because it made them so quick to read. I do want to reread some of them though. Especially the Crank books because those were the first ones of hers that I read and I’m not sure if I’ve reread them at all since the first time.

I think through middle school and into high school I started to read a lot of “darker” books. Like Ellen Hopkins and I mean even Jodi Picoult has very heavy themes in her books. There are a number of books that I really liked to read that I will not be sharing because I just feel like they’re unsuitable to share. I’ve moved past that stage and that’s all I’m going to say.

So I think that’s a pretty comprehensive list of books that I read in my middle school years! And I figured I’d share this video with you guys from the YouTuber BooksAndLala because she’s started to do a series where she’s reading specific books that she loved during certain years when she was a kid!

I’m going to try and make a third and final post in this series with books that I read in high school. A lot of stuff I read in high school was more rereading stuff I’d already read and lots of reading slumps from having to read so much for school already. Hopefully I can throw together at least a few more books to share though! Also I have to ask, who else had a Twilight phase? Still can’t believe how much I loved that book! Now I just love to laugh at it. Anyways, enough from me, have nice day everyone!

 

I Fear Boredom: Revisited

Back in April of 2017 I wrote a post about how one of my irrational fears was boredom and empty time. I decided that I wanted to talk about this again because two years later, this is still a really prevalent issue in my life.

In trying to get over this “fear” of boredom I spend countless hours doing meaningless things. Scrolling through social media and doing absolutely nothing. So even though I’m being “busy” I feel horrible about how I spend my days. I feel guilty about the amount of pointless content I consume and yet I can’t stop doing it.

In the past few months I have been trying to be more meaningful with my time. Making sure that I prioritize doing things like blogging and reading and going for walks. I started playing Pokemon Go again and obviously I started using this blog again. I’ve posted consistently and even started reading books again. But then a lot of nights I end up scrolling through Twitter and reading the same tweets seven times in a row because I can’t concentrate enough on what I’m doing to actually consume the media I’m trying to consume.

I know that a lot of this comes from my depression and it makes me hate my mental health problems even more. I feel guilty for not doing things but then I feel equally guilty for actually doing things. I haven’t watched any TV shows in months because I feel like it’s not worth my time to watch anything, so I end up just watching YouTube videos of Vine compilations because I’m so anxious I can’t watch anything else. And yet the list of media I want to consume just keeps getting longer and longer… And longer.

If I do actually do something, I feel guilty for doing it. Why go for a long walk and play Pokemon Go and enjoy the fresh air when there is laundry at home to be done? Why watch a new TV show when you could write a blog post? Why spend a day reading when you could do literally anything else? Why, why, why??? I even feel guilty picking out what book I want to read next because I want to have just read them all already. It feels nearly impossible to truly enjoy myself when doing anything because I always feel like nothing is truly worth my time.

To try and combat the way I feel about my time, I’m trying to just do things. I’ve basically stopped using social media except for Twitter. I’m going to try and watch The Haunting of Hill House sometime soon and Black Mirror season five was released this week so I’ll be watching those three episodes this weekend because even though I have issues with it, I’m obsessed. I’m trying to go to the library for a little bit every week to work on writing and just for browsing and people watching. I’m just picking whatever book I sorta want to read and then reading until I feel like switching to a new book or when I’ve finished that book I first chose.

The next thing I want to do is try to break the idea that I need to monetize my hobbies. I’m going to get back into painting and coloring because I need some color in my life and I’m going to refuse to let myself think I need to be doing something that will make me money. Too much of my life has to revolve around money and it makes me really sad.

Struggling with idleness is a really difficult thing to struggle with. Almost everything makes me anxious no matter if I’m doing something or not doing something. I really wish that it wasn’t like this but for now I’m stuck with it.

So I guess there’s my update on fearing boredom. I hope this wasn’t too depressing for your Friday read. Hope y’all have a good weekend.

I Love My Library

The library in my hometown is one of my all time favorite places to go. It’s bright and full of sunshine and green (what a happy color green is) and best of all, books. Even if I don’t go there for books I still enjoy my time immensely. It has such a unique smell too that I swear every time I walk into the building I immediately feel better no matter how I’m feeling.

I still have the original library card I got when I started coming here and I’ve even memorized the number (this has come in handy many many times because I almost never actually have my library card on my person). I’ve spent countless hours here over the years doing homework, browsing books, using the printers, and just hanging out people watching.

For years I exclusively browsed the children’s section, then moved to both that section and the YA (teen) section where I stayed for years. I honestly don’t think I even set foot in the adult section until I was almost 20. The past few times that I’ve visited the library, I’ve been browsing the adult section endlessly; it’s honestly a little (a lot) overwhelming! There are just so many books. Sometimes I want to burrow myself back into the teen section and stay there but I know that there are so many good books in the adult section that I need to suck it up and just accept that I’ll never leave the library empty handed.

Libraries are absolutely wonderful and I am so grateful to have grown up so near a great one. For many summers I would bike there frequently, stuffing my backpack full with as many books as it could handle. I’m hoping that this summer I’ll be able to get a bike so that I can start biking to the library again because it’s a great excuse for exercise and also the backpack is a very helpful limit in keeping me from bringing home too many books.

After my post about collecting or hoarding books I just really want to talk up libraries. They’re really important to a lot of people for more than just borrowing books. They’re places for gathering, a great resource for people who can’t regularly access internet or printers, and of course the books are there too. I think it’s really important to support your local library in some way shape or form, they’re a community staple for people everywhere!

Do you have a library that you love to go to?

Mental Health is a Journey

It’s taken me all month to figure out what I wanted to say in this post. As you may or may not know, May is a Mental Health Awareness month… And as I used to be fairly open about on here, I struggle with mental health problems greatly. It’s not fun and I hate having to admit that I’m like this.

I’ve lost a lot because of my mental health and at this point I realize just how bad it is to truly tell people what you are going through. The stigma is insane and I honestly don’t think that it will ever go away, no matter how much people talk about it.

So this is me saying that I’m probably not going to talk about mental health on here anymore. Maybe very generally, or just in passing but I won’t be dedicating any posts to it, I won’t be discussing my diagnoses or anything like that. I just feel like I have been hurt more by my openness about my mental health than I have by anything else.

And you know what? Maybe I am playing into the whole stigmatization of mental health but until I see true change in people not judging or hurting people because of what is going on in their brains I will not be open with what is going on inside my own brain.

I’m just very tired of how horrible mental health care and treatment is and just how badly people act towards the mentally ill.

I hope that in going forward with this decision that you guys can understand where I’m coming from.

And remember that mental health is a journey for everyone. Not everyone is going to be at the same point that someone else is. Right now, my mental health journey is at a stop where I need to just do it by myself and not bring other people into it.

I feel almost cold blooded to talk like this… But I can’t help it. My mental health has brought nothing good into my life and I can’t imagine continuing being open about something that only destroys things. Do any of you feel this way? Do you think that in my doing this I’m playing into the stigmatization of mental health? Anyways, sorry for such a downer post! I promise I have happier stuff coming up.

And if any of you need someone to talk to, I’m happy to chat. Have a good rest of your day.

Today I Feel… Lost

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I was scrambling for something to write about for today… I can’t help but wonder if I’m already feeling the burnout even though I’m still enjoying this renewed blogging adventure. I just have a lot of thoughts that are constantly racing through my mind and it’s really frustrating.

Ever since I can remember I’ve felt lost. Like I’m just wandering through life without any purpose or direction and lately I’ve been really feeling that in a stressful way. I’m currently working a dead-end job that I’m not enjoying, have no motivation to work on things that I enjoy because of said job and just can’t stop daydreaming about doing better things.

I want to move to London. I want to go back to school. I want to work in a museum. I want to paint. I want to take pictures. I want to sew. I want to crochet. I want to read. I want to write. I want to blog. I basically want to do anything but what I’m actually doing.

I work 40 hours a week in a schedule that leaves me so tired most nights that I come home from work and just sit there scrolling through my phone with no motivation to do anything. And in reality it’s been like that for about two years now. Ever since I dropped out of school I’ve really stopped doing things that I’ve enjoyed. I think if you look at my post history you can really see that. I dropped off the face of the earth in 2017 and completely lost my direction.

I feel like I’m drowning in bad decisions and stupid dreams. And when I talk to people about where I’m at in life I get told one of two things almost every single time. The first being that I’m “young” and that I have plenty of time to get things figured out and the second is that I should just go back to school and that’s that. Both of these responses stress me out to no end. Trust me, I’m trying to go back to school and I’m trying to believe that I’m young enough to still be able to conquer the world someday. But in reality, I don’t think that I will ever be able to be as successful as I want to be. And maybe that’s just the pessimist in me but that’s all that I can think. Most parts of me feel like I’ve been destined from the start to work dead-end jobs just working to pay off perpetual debt and all my hopes and dreams are just those. Nothing feels attainable anymore and I think that’s why I feel so incredibly lost.

So I’m going to try and keep writing this blog and pretending that it will be successful. And maybe I’ll start painting again. And I’ll keep researching schools to apply to and maybe even work on finding a place I would enjoy spending my time outside of work. There’s not really much else to say. Life is scary right now and I wish more than anything that there was a clear path as to what I needed to do but there isn’t and I guess I just need to suck it up.

If you’ve stuck around reading this depressing post until now, thank you. I hope my word vomit was interesting or relatable or something.

I hope you all have a great weekend. I’ll talk to you on Monday.

New Year, New Me?

So, it’s been a long time since I’ve even touched this website. For a while I honestly thought that I was done blogging for good. Sometimes I still feel like I should give up on this blog completely and delete it. I’ve actually started getting rid of all of my social media and it’s been wonderful!

But then I remembered how much I actually enjoyed writing for this blog, how excited I got coming up with new content, and how it helped to add structure to a chaotic life that I honestly wish was still my life.

A LOT has changed since the last time I talked to you and while I know I will update you on some things, most of my life will be staying private, it’s been a whirlwind to say the least.

Now, that it’s quite a bit into the new year I figured I’d share with you five ways that I’m going to try and make this a really good year!

 

1.I’m going to get back into reading. Beginning next week I’ll have a half hour commute to and from work and while I know I’ll be listening to music most days (especially in the morning to get myself pumped up) in the afternoon I think I’ll listen to audiobooks. I recently tried Audible and really enjoyed it! Though I can’t afford the full subscription yet, I hope to be able to soon because I have yet to have the concentration to be able to sit down and read a physical book. I’d really like to power through all of Jen Sincero’s books because I have heard nothing but good things about them. I’ll be starting with You Are a Badass and then go from there.

2. The next thing that I’m going to try and work on is drinking more water and cutting out the soda. Granted my caffeine addiction is far from gone (I found out I can make really great iced coffee at home and I’m completely hooked. I will be sharing how I make my iced coffee in an upcoming post.) I think the first thing I need to do is get a new water bottle. For some reason those always make me more motivated to drink more water. I really want a HydroFlask but I might have to just stick to my trusty Nalgene bottle that I’ve had for years.

3. I really want to start exercising as well. I had a really good habit of going to my apartment gym for a while but then I got sick and a bunch of other stuff happened and now I’m back living at home and don’t have access to a gym. I think I’ll try to start doing yoga and weights in my room before work and then as soon as the weather gets nice I’ll be hiking as many weekends as I possibly can! My goal for a few years now has been to hit up every state park in Minnesota and I really want to get going on that goal.

4. I’d like to keep journaling. I started that pretty early on this year and have done really well with keeping my journal updated. I think I’m going to make another post soon on journaling again and talk more about how I journal now and also how I read and annotate self help books.

5. I want to develop and maintain a self care routine. At least once a week I want to pamper myself and pretend that I actually like it. I also want to have enough money to do things like possibly get my nails done or go get a massage if I had a really bad week. But first I’ll start off with face masks and not so healthy food. (This carbonated mask is still my absolute favorite when I want to have fun… I also reeeeeaaaally want to try the Hell Pore mask.)

So overall these are the things that I want to try at the beginning of this year to better myself. And included in all of this is a continuance of blogging. I’d really like to try and post once a week, if not more. I’m not going to try and force myself to stick to a schedule because I have sooooo much that’s going to be going on but I’ll start with posting once a week and going from there.

I’m really excited to be back y’all! Hope you’re ready for spending a great year with me!

 

Sincerely,

Amelia

P.s. I joined the Amazon Affiliate program so the links in this are from that. I promise I won’t share anything I know isn’t good.

 

 

 

I Fear Boredom

So I have a lot of irrational fears. So many in fact that I couldn’t even list them all in one blog post to talk about them. I swear every day there’s a new one to add to the list. The newest fear that I’ve discovered I have is a fear of boredom.

I don’t really know where this came from because normally the introverted side of me loves downtime. I still desperately need downtime in order to function daily but I’ve come to fear that downtime. I am terrified of the moments when I am not completely consumed by work or class or some sort of activity. I have packed my schedule to the brim in order to keep myself going almost constantly.

And yet those moments come creeping in, the space in between classes, the time when I don’t have homework to do. The hour I have after I’ve finished getting ready in the morning before I have to go to work or class.

I feel like I’m going crazy with the amount of anxiety that overwhelms me when I have downtime. It doesn’t make sense to me and I guess this is just me complaining about it.

Well, that’s what has been going on with me lately. Fear of boredom, yet not getting anything done because I can’t sit still long enough to do anything. I’m just all over the place.

Only 22 days until summer break and 25 days until I leave for London (which is a whole other thing that I’m terrified about, but that’s a story for a different day).

Hope you all have a great afternoon!