History Book TBR

So I’m a bit of a history junkie. I feel like a lot of people find this surprising about me or even strange but I am sort of obsessed with history! If I were to guess, it would probably be due to all my exposure to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books when I was growing up and playing pretend with my sister. I was always Mary and she was Laura and I think that plays such a huge role in why I love history so much. Another book that really threw me into that realm was this book called The Green Glass Sea which was about two girls who had parents that worked on Project Manhattan during World War II. Oh and I can’t forget about the influence that Oregon Trail must have played into this too! (I feel like not surprisingly but pioneer times and world war II are two of my favorite parts of history now).

Today I’m going to be sharing a bunch of the historical books that I have on my TBR list at the moment.

Trials of the Earth: The True Story of a Pioneer Woman by Mary Mann Hamilton

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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

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The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

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Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain

TestamentofYouth

The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan

TheGirlsofAtomicCity

Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley

JaneAustenatHome

The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Marta McDowell

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I feel like there are definitely other books that I could add to this list but I’m being too lazy to look them up. If you have any recommendations of historical nonfiction I’d love to hear them! I’m always looking for new books within this genre to read.

I’m actually currently reading Testament of Youth, I bought it two years ago while I was in London at one of the many museums that we went to and I figure since I’ve had it that long I really should be reading it now. Hopefully I’ll be making a post about that soon and if I do I’ll link it here.

Anyways, happy Monday everyone! I hope your week starts off well.

*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rereading Old Favorites

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I have a whole shelf on my bookshelf of books that I once held extremely near and dear to my heart. These books had a huge impact on my “youth” and they’re ones that I won’t be able to part with any time soon. Though some of these books have stood the test of time, there are many that make me cringe when I reread them.

I will say though that I don’t look at old middle grade novels in the same way that I do some of the old young adult novels that I read. I feel like to now critically look at a middle grade novel just doesn’t make sense, of course the characters come across as immature and naive and the plots are incredibly basic, middle grade is a whole other level of thinking and comprehension. I am obviously no longer the target audience! However, if any of you would be interested in me going back and critically looking at old middle grade books I would love to do a post like that… (This is me saying that I’m probably going to do this even if no one comments on this post about that particular topic).

On a “spiritual” level, I still love books like Twilight and those dystopian novels that were published really early on in that craze, but I also wouldn’t list them on my favorite books list right now. Even books I’ve read recently that I was obsessed with tend to have something fundamentally wrong with them and I have to look past that in order to read them with the same joy I had when I first read them.

Now I think that moving forward and reading new stories and learning new things will always teach a person to think more critically about things that they used to like… Or at least I think that’s what we all hope for people and ourselves as we learn new things. Books that we read in the past are super important to who we become as adults and I think it’s important to be able to talk about the books that we loved then and even if they don’t stand the test of time they can still mean something to us.

It’s too easy to be embarrassed about favorite books and want to hide our old or even current reading tastes because we may like problematic stories or stories that haven’t aged well or even stories that once seemed so mature and amazing that now have just lost their touch. I don’t think that we should be quick to condemn things we once loved because they aren’t “good” today. I think we should discuss and call out things that haven’t stood the test of time and be inspired to read better books and tell new stories.

I was just inspired to write this post from seeing people rereading Twilight recently and also from writing my Books That Shaped Me post. I think it’s funny to see how immature and bad some of my old favorite books are compared to some of the books I’ve been reading more recently. It’s just interesting to see how things change over time!

Do you guys have any books that you feel embarrassed to say that you still love?

 

The Books That Shaped Me

At this point in my life, I have read too many books to count. Going to the library as a kid was one of my favorite outings and every year my uncle used to give me $50 to Barnes and Noble for Christmas. Though nowadays I struggle greatly to find my motivation to read I still love devouring books and when I find a good one it makes me so grateful.

I was going through my goodreads account looking at all the books I had there so that I could look some stuff up for another blog post and I couldn’t help but get slightly emotional over all of the books that I had listed on there that I read way back in elementary and middle school. Books played such a pivotal role in my childhood that I decided to round up a bunch of the books that really shaped me as a person and as a reader and share them with you. I feel like this post could get really long so I might end up sharing this in parts!

I’m basically just going to compile this list with just the names of the books/authors with some commentary when I see fit because I feel like if I were to add my commentary to every single one of these this post would be two miles long and no one would read it! However, if you are interested in more of my commentary on certain books or series just comment on this post and I can make singular posts about certain books/series if you want to know more!

Anyways, here are the books that shaped me!

The Harry Potter series

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Books written by Margaret Peterson Haddix

RunningOutofTime

Specifically Running Out of Time which to this day I maintain as being one of my all time favorite books. Which reminds me, I need to buy a new copy of this still as my last one was stolen from me… This story is just crazy and I highly recommend this book to anyone!

The Main Street series by Ann M. Martin

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Though in general Ann M. Martin’s books all were a really big childhood, her Main Street series was probably my favorite (and I’m honestly still trying to read them!) Her Babysitter’s Club series will always be a classic as well.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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When I first read this series the books were still being released and I remember waiting for the last book and I was so excited when it finally showed up at my library and I could read it! It was the weirdest set of books I had ever read and I was genuinely extremely confused by the entire experience of reading this but I loved it!

American Girl books

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I think that these books had a really big influence into my love of history, as did a few others on this list. American Girl books and the dolls were huge in my life. The magazine was my first ever subscription and I have every single one of those saved in a box still! Kit was my favorite and to this day I still watch the movies if I can get my hands on them!

Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

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Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park

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I have to brag for a second when I mention this book. We actually read this book for a school thing (I can’t remember what it was called but everyone in my grade got this book for free and after we read it we had a big game of jeopardy) and I have to credit myself for winning grade-wide jeopardy for my class. All because I knew the name of the study of bugs! It’s entomology btw if any of you wanted to know. I will also say that I think that this book was one of the first times that I really stopped to think about how creatures that aren’t humans are treated and it made me really sad!

The Beacon Street Girls Series

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Somewhere out there, there is a website that is somehow related to this series that has my first ever attempts at blogging on it. I’m not even going to lie, as I’m writing this post I’m thinking about going to the library to check out books from this series. I loved these books so much growing up! I actually kind of regret getting rid of my collection of them!

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

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Bethany Hamilton, to this day, is one of my biggest heroes! Her faith, strength, and heart are so inspiring and I’m so glad that I discovered her when I did. In sixth grade I actually did an entire presentation as her after reading this book. She’s an amazing woman and I love following what she does!

Halfway to the Sky by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

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This (along with the next book on the list) have been huge in influencing my wanting to explore more. Halfway to the Sky actually inspired my want to hike the Appalachian Trail someday!

Skye’s the Limit by Megan Shull

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The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

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I read this book in sixth grade as well and actually read it for a small reading group. The reason this made it onto the list has more to do with my experience of reading it though instead of the story itself (though I do love the story and totally want to reread this!). I’ll try to tell the story quickly…

So back in first grade I got really excited about a book that I was reading for a reading group and ended up reading the whole thing in one night. The next day I said this to my teacher and it was like I had done something illegal! She yelled at me in front of my entire reading group telling me that I was horrible for not being able to follow directions and that I shouldn’t have read ahead and should never do it again. So I tried to never read ahead again (and I still think that this might be why I hated reading books for school more often than not).

Then in sixth grade, I ended up reading this entire book in one night because it was so entertaining I had to finish it! I revealed this to my reading group during our discussion and one of the girls actually told the teacher when she came around to talk to us… I was genuinely terrified when my group mate told her but my teacher almost immediately asked me what I thought of the ending and couldn’t help but discuss how much I had liked the book. The way she reacted compared to my first grade teacher actually shocked me and made me realize just how important it is to have good teachers who have fun/encourage their students to do stuff.

Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass

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The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald

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Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles

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This book kickstarted this weird obsession with anthropology that has always stuck in the back of my head. It’s the reason that I loved the show Bones so much and honestly has now inspired me in my newest collegiate pursuit. Weird how random things will end up influencing your entire life!

Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

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And finally…

The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages

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I borrowed this from a friend in elementary school and have been hooked on learning about World War II ever since! This book, of all of these, probably jumpstarted my love of history more than anything and I credit this to my insanely crazy interest in the World Wars (especially the experience of those on the homefront) ever since.

So now that I’ve talked your ear off… I want to know, what books shaped you as a kid? What was your favorite book growing up? I’d love to read them!

 

*This post contains affiliate links

 

Reading Jane Austen: The Beginning

I’ve got to admit something to you guys…

So I’ve been saying for YEARS now that Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. And now I must admit that I have never actually read an entire book of hers. Yes, that’s right, I have never read an entire book of Jane Austen’s before. I’m honestly kind of embarrassed to actually be typing this out, like I went to Bath in England a couple years ago and cried when I realized I was walking where Jane Austen once walked and I bought multiple books of hers and about her whilst on that trip and STILL have never read an entire book!

I have gotten about halfway through Pride and Prejudice numerous times (like more times than I can recall at this point) and I’ve also read about half of Northanger Abbey. And I honestly really do feel embarrassed to say that. So that is why I have decided to challenge myself to read all of Jane Austen’s books and document that process on the blog, you know, just to hold myself accountable.

I pulled out my complete collection of her novels that I bought in London back in 2017. I have that really pretty set that’s been published too (picture inserted below) but those books (along with my copy of the book Jane Austen at Home) have been packed in a box someplace and I’m not sure if/when I’ll ever see those again! I’ll be reading and trying to annotate each book as I go. I think also instead of reading these books in the order that they’ve been put into this book I’ll be reading them as I see fit to read them. Which means I think I’ll begin with Lady Susan because I have honestly never heard of that before!

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So to make a long story short, I’m going to stop pretending to be the biggest Jane Austen fan of all time and actually get my butt in gear and read her books for real! Let’s hope I still love her as much at the end of this as I do right now!

Also if any of you have suggestions as to what order I should read her books in let me know!

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.

 

 

 

17 Things I Want To Do In 2017

I have never followed through on resolutions. Never! Not once! So I’ve decided to make a big resolution to never make another resolution. Instead I am going to make a list of 17 things that I would like to do in 2017.

 1 Blog consistently

I’m horrible at being a blogger. That’s pretty obvious to me, so this year I’d like to try and blog at least five days a week. I want to act like this is a job!

2 Crochet

I am in the process of opening an Etsy shop of crocheted items that I have made. Obviously in order to do this, I need to crochet things. I need to make things and I need to crochet every single day.

crochetingawasoe

3 Take more pictures

I just want the memories.

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4 Journal more

I’m working on a post about reasons to start journaling and I realized just how awful I am at journaling consistently so on top of blogging consistently, I would also like to journal consistently (every day would be amazing but I’d be happy with a few times a week, even just once week where I sat down and got out all my craftiness and emotions out would be awesome).

5 Workout

Starting off today I’m doing a 30 day workout calendar from Blogilates with my boyfriend and I’m hoping the two of us can hold each other accountable and workout a lot this year. We both really want to get into shape and I’m hoping by doing it together we’ll actually follow through.

6 Culture myself

Hahaha. Well I really just want to go to more museums, look at more art, go to London (hopefully!!). Hmmm. Yeah, that’s about it, I just want to appreciate stuff more. I want to go to plays and learn about history and people.

7 Go on a road trip!

Summer road trip to Seattle is currently being planned!

8 Meal plan

I’m one person. I hate making food for myself. I know that I need to take better care of myself and eat better and it’s so difficult for me because of all the food issues I have. I want to start meal planning and using the groceries I buy and really experiencing and enjoying food.

9 Develop an evening routine

Most nights this past semester have involved me working on homework until around midnight and then falling into bed and looking at my phone for over an hour until I’m finally tired enough to fall asleep (this “routine” also usually involved me forgetting to brush my teeth or take my makeup off). I want to have a routine that will help me wind down and maybe help with my insomnia some.

10 Cook more

This goes along with the meal planning. I started off the school year cooking a lot and I really enjoyed it! But then I started a second job for about a month and began to live off of granola bars and microwaveable meals which spiraled into me redeveloping some poor food habits and ended with me kind of never eating or eating really poorly. So I would like to cook more meals, I have a Pinterest board of recipes collecting dust and I intend to change that this next semester.

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11 Wear more lipstick

I love lipstick, I think it looks great on me. It makes me feel super bad ass but I rarely wear it because of my stupid anxiety. I always feel like people are judging me when I wear it. So now that I’m trying to care less about what people think of me I want to wear as much lipstick as I possibly can!!!

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12 Do more artsy things

I just painted a few days ago for the first time in about a year and it made me realize just how much I missed doing artsy things. When I had really bad insomnia in high school and middle school I used to stay up until two or three in the morning and just paint or draw or color and I really really miss just being so uninhibited with my artwork. I want to do more collages and paintings and use the adult coloring books I have.

13 Be cleaner and more organized

I have lost my student ID more times than I can count just because I put it wherever I please instead of keeping it in one specific spot. I have also run out of mugs (which is a feat for me because I have about 10 at school) just because I haven’t done dishes for so many days. I want to live with less clutter. So along with this I want to try and minimize my belongings. I’ve already done so with my books which is a pretty big deal for me.

14 Go on adventures

I want to be spontaneous and go hiking and just have fun.

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15 Save money

Kind of self explanatory. I spend too much money, should save some more than I do. So I also need to learn how to budget.

16 Read more widely

I’ve really developed a wider reading range recently and I’d like to continue to read different genres and authors and learn things and be different from my younger only reads dystopian novels self.

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17 Treat others better

Tell people when I’m thinking of them. Bake cookies for my friends when they’re stressed out. Help people when they’re down on their luck.

I basically just want to be more consistent and have more fun this year. That’s basically it.

What do you all want to do this year?

Reading David Mitchell

Last year, I read Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell at the suggestion of my boyfriend and I really enjoyed it! However, I liked the movie more. This year, I decided to read The Bone Clocks, also by David Mitchell.

Now that I’ve read two of his books, I’ve noticed a trend. I love the beginnings of the books, I loved the ends of the books, but somewhere in between I get hopelessly lost. Now with Cloud Atlas, it switched up narrators more often and I was definitely a fan of some sections more than others, so it was more of a trend throughout the book than just the beginning and the end. However with The Bone Clocks I ended up skimming a lot of the middle chunk because I was not hooked at all.

I don’t know if it’s just the style of writing that he uses for certain narrators or if it’s the stories themselves but I get so bored reading over half of his novels! I definitely wish it wasn’t like this because I really do enjoy the books in entirety. The stories are so thought provoking and interesting and I love finding out how all the stories connect in the end.

I’m not big on not finishing books, I usually stick it out to the end, and with these reading to the end is worth it because everything tends to pick up once all the middle is out of the way.

I guess this is my way of brining up hard to finish books. What is your criteria for not finishing a book? For me, I usually DNF a book by page 200, sometimes sooner if I just really don’t like the book. My reading tastes have changed pretty drastically in the past few years and I’m also a lot more selective with what I read. I DNF a lot more books than I used to and I’m quick to judge.

I’ll be honest with you all, I’m definitely a person that judges books by their covers. I’ve stopped reading a lot of contemporary because their covers make me cringe. I’m not a fan of mass market books, because of bad covers and I’m very very picky with YA books. I definitely have to be in the right mood to read certain genres, actually make that all genres. If I try to read a book when I’m not ready to read that genre I will not enjoy the book.

So what kinds of books do you guys enjoy reading? I’m a really wide reader, I like anything from contemporary to high fantasy, nonfiction to science fiction and just about everything in between. What keeps you reading a book if it’s not the best and do you guys DNF books at all?

I have a huge stack of books that I got for Christmas/bought myself (I just found out last week that there’s a Half Price Books about 20 minutes away from my house) and I’m super excited to read them! (I also have a box of books that I’m planning on selling to the store as soon as I have a chance to get back there).

Well, my experience with David Mitchell books has been quite interesting. I like the books, but at the same time I don’t. I keep reading them simply because I know there are good chunks that I know I’ll enjoy. Books are weird and I find it interesting that with these books being narrated by multiple characters I feel like that definitely has an influence, some of these narrators are awful! And their storylines aren’t that great either.

Hope you all have a great day.

Procrastination 


So I don’t know about you guys, but I have the hardest time when it comes to procrastination. I can be very motivated to do things but when it comes to tackling big projects (especially during the summer) I find myself making excuses at every turn. The past few summers I’ve had summer reading assignments for my English classes and this year was no different.

Summer Reading Supplies

My goal this upcoming school year is to stop procrastinating. It’s definitely a big goal for me but I feel like with more time to work on things and less work I should be able to tackle what I need to on a day to day basis.

Here are some reasons to stop procrastinating:

1. You’ll have more time once you’re done to be able to do things that you want to do instead of working on all the work you’ve put off.

2. There’s a sense of accomplishment to having done all you have to do on time, or even earlier than you need it to
be done.

3. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of getting your work done on time you’ll be more productive and actually get your work done on a regular basis.

Summer Reading

If you’re like me, then these probably won’t be all the motivation you need in order to stop procrastinating. These are some things that I’ve been doing to try and make better habits:

1. I avoid rewarding myself with time on the internet. If I do, I’ll play one level of Candy Crush, or watch a YouTube video but I don’t check social media.I find that if I let myself go on social media I spend way too much time on it and don’t get any work done.

2. I do reward myself though, like I said I’ll play a level of Candy Crush, or watch a YouTube video during a break but I also reward myself with other things too. Usually for when I’m done with all the tasks I figure out a “big” prize, sometimes I plan a relaxing night, order food for dinner, buy something I have on my wish list, something like that. For smaller rewards I usually make, or buy myself coffee or tea, spend time scrolling through social media, or watch a movie. It’s always great to have something to look forward to at the end of a long To-Do list.

2. I gather everything that I could need while working on my project and put it where I’ll be working. The only reason I let myself leave my workspace is if I have to go to the bathroom.

3. While I do try to leave my workspace as fewtimes as possible, I do give myself breaks. I try to work for at least half an hour at a time and then take a five to ten minute break. Breaks are really important because if you work for too long you will get burnt out.

4. Just do it. Make a list of everything you need to get done, prioritize them, alternating tasks that are hard and ones that are easy. Then sit down and get to work and don’t stop until you have everything done. Once you’re finished you will feel so much better about things and it will alleviate so much stress.Summer Reading Rewards

Do any of you have issues with procrastination? What are your favorite ways to keep yourself motivated?

Have a great day everyone!