I’m not giving up, just starting over

Wow. The last time I blogged was the last week of junior year. I only remember this because that was the last time that I had to blog for a grade. I always wanted to keep the blog going, but once I stopped, it was even harder to start again. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, because I had a lot of fun writing and building up this blog, but it was the last time I had any motivation to keep it going.

Life as you know, just got in the way. Before I knew it, it was summer, then senior year, then graduation, then summer again, and then college. Which, if you’re still in high school, that’s pretty much what your life is going to be like. One thing after another, with no end in sight of ever slowing down.

However, despite the busier than ever schedule, the major pivotal life-altering transition into college, and the heavier course load, I still made time to read. In fact, now that I am in college, I have more time to read than I have in a really long time. This gift of time to be able to read unfortunately wont last long. In another year or two I will begin classes for my major and then it will be senior year again, then graduation, and then this time real life begins.

With that being said, I am going to make the most of the time I have now. I will read as much as I can and I will try to blog every time I finish a book. I figure that’s an easy goal to set and its also not too demanding of my time. There will be periods of time where I don’t blog for a really long time and other times when I’m feeling inspired and I will write everything that comes to mind. All I’m asking is that you stick with me, because I’m not finished yet and here are still plenty of books for me to read.

Until next time,

Emily

 

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The Future of this Blog

With four days left of school my obligations to this blog are no more.

However, the last I plan on doing is quitting. This blog started with the idea of connecting to more readers like myself and has been way more successful than I ever could have guessed. Thank you to everyone who has read from the beginning even when I was still getting my act together. Thank you to those read and respond! You let me know when I’m doing something right and its something I should do for others more often.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging this year and find myself way more comfortable posting what I’m thinking than I am on other social media. Because this blog is mostly yet undiscovered by the adults in my life and my family I feel truly free to write what I feel. I’m not trying to impress anyone or fit someone else’s standards. I simply want people to read more and enjoy reading the way I do.

I may be taking a little break from blogging as I leave for summer vacation and relax after a stressful year of school, but don’t worry. I will be back. In the world of reading there is always something new to talk about and I’m sure I will have something to say whether its just to suggest a book to read or whatever. In fact I already have something I want to inform you guys about and get your opinions, but first I need to spend time worrying about passing my finals. I want to get more involved with other blogs and stay in touch with my followers I’m just not going to bug you guys three time a week.

Something new I might try to explore this summer is writing. I enjoy writing obviously, since I blog so much, but I also like my own stories. Though I don’t think I’m ever going to be an author someday I like creating my own short stories, picking out the characters, and determining the ending. One thing I feel more strongly about since starting this blog is that reading and writing are closely tied together. Without writing how can there be reading? Therefore I may decide to blog about writing a few times.

That’s all I want to say for now. Enjoy your summer wherever you are and make sure to read a couple of books; the more the better. I’ll see you next time!

 

Graduation Ideas

With graduation parties almost coming to a close I noticed a popular trend this year that is relatively new. Instead of having cards to sign or big posters, graduates have their favorite children’s book open and people can sign the book or write their notes in there.

I think this is an awesome idea as a reader. Books are always something I will keep and it would be so cool to read my favorite children’s book and read all of things people had to say.  A book can fit more signatures and notes than picture board or poster. Also, books last longer than cards anyway and some graduates pick out a book that is somewhat related to adventure or life after high school. A popular book for parties this year has been Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss.

My only problem is that I wouldn’t know which book to pick. There are so many to chose from. This idea is so cool, it could be used for any kind of party. Grad parties, moving away parties, birthdays, weddings, etc. Maybe in some small way this could even spark people’s interest in reading.

What do you think of this idea? Is this something you would do for your grad party or if you’ve already graduated do you wish this was something you had done?

dr. seuss

Abanoned Books

More and more people are abandoning their books, never finishing them, and spending less time actually reading. Maybe this phenomenon is just common among high schoolers, but all too often I hear about someone having to return a book without finishing it or giving up before it even gets good. Some check out a book because they have to or just want something to read, but as time goes by the book still sits on the table waiting to be read.

Abandoning books it something I consider a great loss. Throughout my years reading books I have abandoned two books that I can remember, maybe three. Both times that I abandoned a book I reconsidered what I like to read and see what about that book I didn’t like. Afterwards I read a book I know I like for sure, something within my comfort zone. I reevaluate myself as a reader because as I grow older my taste in books will change. Naturally, I don’t read the same kind of books I used to read when I was in elementary school and when I abandon a book its a good reminder to rethink about what books I’m interested in.

I hate to see people like my younger sister who continue to check out books that aren’t their type. When we take weekly trips to the library in the summer she picks out maybe one book and never finishes it. According to her, the library “never has any good books.” And I always respond with, “yes they do. You just have to know what you like and go from there.” If one type of book isn’t working for you pick a different kind of book. Whether its a change in topic, writing style, or genre, the public library has tons of different options to chose from. Its just a matter of finding which one you like.

Others already are picking out books that they like, but still find it hard to finish them. Sometimes the beginning can be really slow and confusing or the there’s just no time to finish. I would recommend siting down and just reading. No matter how hard it is to find time just take five minutes and suddenly the book may be interesting. There are parts of books that are boring or slow, but sometimes those are the most important part because they rest up the rest of the book. Just keep reading and it will get better. If it doesn’t then that’s a sign that you should start looking at other books.

I wish more people would make an effort to finish books instead of just giving up when they don’t feel like reading anymore. The other night I sat down and read for hours. I felt it was time to finish this book I had been struggling to get into for two months. Once I was determined to finish there was no reason for me to stop.

So the next time you think about abandoning a book, reconsider. Make more of an effort to finish or reevaluate yourself as a reader. You may be surprised to find that reading comes easier the more you do it. Just like anything else!

finish strong

John Green

John Green, fellow nerdfighter, famous author, father, and one half of the Volgbrothers.

Recently he is mostly known for his #1 New York Times bestseller The Fault in our Stars. People around the country can’t put this book down and are falling in love with the main characters every day. The Fault in Our Stars is an awe inspiring, heartfelt, and honest story of a young teenage girl and the boy she meets that changes her world. Readers easily fall in love with the main characters and can’t seem to put the book down. It’s not just another cancer story, its the story about the genuine struggles of cancer and caring for somebody inspired by a real cancer patient.

The movie, starring Shailene Woodley who also starred in Divergent, is set to come out next week on June 6th! John Green attempted to play the role of a father from one of the scenes in the book, but his scene from the movie was ultimately cut from the finished product. However, those who see the movie on the 5th will get a chance to see his deleted scene at the premiere. If you haven’t already read this book I would suggest you start reading it today! With its compelling storyline The Fault in Our Stars is a fast read as it is hard to put down.

If you have already read The Fault in Our Stars and are looking for more of his stuff to read you can visit his website which has a summary, reviews, and comments for each of his books. I haven’t read anything else of his, but I plan to read the rest this summer. His other books include Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines.

                            tumblr_m594prrf331r0yglfo1_400

Other than writing, John Green also makes Youtube videos with his brother, Hank Green. John and Hank started making Youtube videos for each other as apart of the Brotherhood 2.0 project. This was the only way they kept in touch for a whole year and since that first year the brothers channel, Vlogbrothers, has become wildly popular with over two million subscribers. Each week they post a video about updates on John’s writing, Nerdfighteria, and other random thoughts from the week. Together both brothers are very intelligent and funny. Just the other night I spent two hours just watching their videos on Youtube and I barely noticed the time pass.

Both John and Hank are responsible for the crash course videos as well. These videos come in handy when reviewing for AP exams and my chemistry regularly watches the crash course chemistry videos.

Consider checking either one or both of John’s works or just follow him on twitter. Here are some related links:

http://www.youtube.com/vlogbrothers

http://johngreenbooks.com/

@realjohngreen @hankgreen

john and hank green

 

America Reads Day

Being that Memorial Day is tomorrow its seems fitting to talk about America Reads Day. America Reads is a day when volunteers, mostly moms and dads, come into school and read a book to the class. This is popular among elementary schools and its a fun way to get kids interested in reading. I remember looking forward to this day every year because my parents always came to read and I usually helped them pick out the book beforehand. This is a great way to get kids excited about reading at a young age and I hope schools continue to participate in this event. Someday I would like to be able to read for my kids’ class. If this is something you might want to do, ask your local elementary school and get involved because I’m sure they are always looking for more volunteers!

 

The Debriefing

As readers, we tend to read some books really fast because we get really into the books and can’t put them down. When we read a book really fast its easy to miss something we would normally catch. That’s why spending time to think about what was just read and talking through it with a friend can be really helpful in better understanding a book. Also knowing a lot about a book can further discussions since there’s more to talk about.

For example, I read the Hunger Games and Divergent so fast that now its hard for me to remember some of the details or why I felt a certain away towards one of the characters. I plan on rereading these books this summer so I can refresh my memory and because they are so good that they’re worth reading over and over again.

One of my best friends and I read many of the same series and one of my favorite things to do is talk with her about those books. We talk about everything related to them. Our conversations can go on for hours before we run out of things to talk about. When I’m confused about something I will ask her and she can help clarify for me what I just read. Talking with her helps me to see parts of the books from another perspective other than my own and it gets me more excited to read. We can be honest with each other and have completely different opinions on something, but still get along.

What’s great about us having different opinions is that we learn how to make an argument and stand by it while at the same time listening to what the other person has to say and respecting their opinions. This was especially challenging when my language arts class last year had small groups that read a book together and discussed what we read. I found it harder to politely disagree with my group because none of them were my best friend. However it taught me an important lesson: I am not always right.

A humbling experience, but also a reminder to discuss books with people more often. Go get coffee with somebody and just talk through what you’ve been reading. If you’re not sure where to start use a reading guide that is sometimes included in the back of a book. Maybe suggest your favorites to a friend and just see where the conversation goes. I can guarantee you it will be interesting.

friends- central perk

Audio Books

audio books

In my last post I briefly mentioned that I had never listened to an audio book before and I thought I should elaborate on that. Only a few years ago I thought audio books were just for adults, old people who had trouble reading. My mom has listened to self-help books while on her way to work and inspirational talks while on long road trips, but the thought of listening to an actual book while driving somewhere as simple as school or to the store seemed silly to me. I had three good reasons as to why I should not listen to audio books.

  1. I get easily distracted and try to focus on where I’m going whenever I’m driving. I feel like if I was listening to an audio book I would get distracted from driving as I would pay more attention to what is happening in the book. Also, sometimes I space off so I would get home and be like “wait what just happened?” I’d like to think I can multitask, but I’m not and so listening to an audio book and driving at the same time may not be so good for me.
  2. If however I do manage to drive and listen at the same time I wouldn’t want to stop driving. Especially when its a really good part of a book then I would probably look for errands to run just so I can listen to more of the book. Then I would probably go through a lot of gas too. I would much rather go for a morning cruise listening to a book than going to school and thinking about what’s going to happen next all day long. I can just see myself being late to class and telling my teacher I had to finish another chapter because I was in the middle of an interesting part of the book.
  3. The other thing about audio books is that it changes the reading experience. When you think of that book you will also think of that voice that read the book to you and the way they read the book may not be the same way you would read it yourself. Its not the same as picking up a book and reading the same way reading a book off of an electronic device is different from actually holding and reading a book, (at least in my opinion.)

Until one day my language arts teacher and I were talking about books and what we were reading at the moment when she said she had been trying to finish a series a certain series for a while, but hadn’t been in her car enough to move through the book quickly. I remember thinking how strange it would be to listen to someone else read my favorites books to me and dismissed the thought of me ever listening to one myself. Lately though as I have thought more about it audio books seem like a pretty good idea. Since I’ve had almost no time in the last two months to finish a book I think of all the time spent in my car and I probably could have finished quite a few. Audio books are a great idea if you’re short on time or don’t like listening to the radio while in the car.

The next time I get busy I will try an audio book to see what its really like. The only real concern I have (I can easily get over the other three actually), is that I might be in the middle of two books at once which I hate. I like to enjoy one book at a time and if I’m reading one while I’m at home and listening to a different one in the car then I would get confused on what was happening in which book. That’s why in these last two months when I had to do so much reading for school I had to pause my free reading book. But I am proud to say that I am finally free! With only three more weeks left of school the homework is finally winding down. Although when senior year starts in the fall and since I’m bound to get busy I will try out a few audio books that way I still find time to “read.”

As Seen On TV

Out of curiosity (How does the saying go? Curiosity never killed the cat?) I searched As Seen On TV website’s looking for things related to reading. There was of course the usual things like a reading light and reading glasses, but I found something that seems surprising useful. In two different versions, one a flash drive and the other an MP3 player, its a collection of classic books in audio version. I was intrigued by the idea since I have not read many classics although I would like to at some point. Both seem to have the same books on them, but there are a few key differences.

  1. The flash drive has more books on it than the MP3 player.
  2. The flash drive is way cheaper than the MP3 player
  3. The flash drive has more positive reviews

Buying something off of As Seen On TV is always sketchy because its hard to tell how well they really work. This is something I would need to look more into before I would consider buying, but its seems pretty cool. All of the major classics in one place. I’ve never listened to an audio book before so that would be interesting.

digital classic books                        libarary of classics

Also, if in the future you have trouble reading small print or reading in the dark check out the Page Brite! If that doesn’t give away your old age I don’t know what will!

The Little Green Monster

jealousy

I’m the jealous type. I don’t like it, but I find myself easily jealous because someone else has something I don’t. I get mad when other people don’t realize how lucky they have to have that one thing or when I can’t have it. When all I can do is watch, seething in jealously, and only making it harder for myself to resist getting what I want. I’m jealous of those who have more time than me, those who have more money than me, and those who have more books than me. I’m jealous of those who get to read more than me.

I always think that if I had more time then I could read more and if I had more money then I could buy more books and if I had more books than I would be able to spend a lifetime reading my favorites over and over again. But as much fun as it is to reread my favorite books, there’s something about reading book for the first time that can’t be beat.

When I read a book for the first time there is so much suspense and mystery about the unknown. I don’t yet know the author is going to tie it all together at the end. I don’t know the fate of the beloved characters. I will never be able to replicate my initial anticipation and excitement as I read a book. While it is still exciting and nerve-racking to read the second time around its no longer special because the moment has passed. The unknown is known and that changes the way I read. I’m no longer nervous about the fate of a character. I don’t freak out when something unexpected happens because happily ever after is only a few chapters away. So yeah I’m jealous of those who get to read an awesome book for the first time.

A few weeks ago my younger sister decided she wanted to read the Divergent series and now she is halfway through the second book. As she read Divergent I watched her wonder at what was to come. I watched her fall in love with Tris and Four. I answered her questions about what was happening, but never gave away the ending so I wouldn’t ruin the fun as she read the end. And yet, as I watched I couldn’t help but realize that I would never be able to read the series in the same way knowing how it ends. I am happy that she chose such a great series to read, (let’s be honest, I’m just happy that she likes to read. My other sister not so much.) but at the same time I feel bad she will experience the same emotional trauma as I did when ‘the person who will not be named’ dies.

That is one thing I do not envy. When I read sad books the second time around it doesn’t hurt as much because I’m expecting the ending. However I still find reading books the first time around to be my favorite. What about you? Do you enjoy a book more the first time you read it or when you are rereading it?