It's been a long, long time since I last crafted a post that wasn't a review or a blog tour post, but here I am, ready to conquer le
reading vs visual reading
The first thing I've noticed is that while I have never been a very visual reader, I pay a lot more attention to character descriptions than I used to. It may be because of my love for (learning how to and) making graphics on my tumblr. I now mark all the places about character description, both in physical and ebooks, so that I have some guidelines for physical descriptions in order for the people I fancast as models for my graphics to be as accurate as possible, especially if these characters are poc, because you don't want to whitewash a poc character or get their ethnicity wrong. It hurts a lot of people and enables others to think that this is right when it's not. So yes, before I started making graphics I wasn't perhaps as invested in character descriptions since I only imagined characters more or less as silhouettes and it didn't matter to me to the tiniest details how people looked, I was simply invested in their experiences, relationships, character growth etc, but now I want to be as accurate as possible with fancasts, so visual reading has become quite important these days.
how do you do kawaii
Speaking of marking places, I'm a huge, huge fan of sticky notes! Some of my books have more than 50 sticky notes in them. Previously I only used the ordinary pink, yellow, orange, blue and green ones, and I still use them a lot, especially for paperbacks, but thanks to my dear friend Sue I've discovered that there is a huge selection of cute sticky notes out there and you can buy them for 0.99-1.99$ with free shipping! I love picking out themes too to go with the book if it's possible and truly, these stickynotes are such a joy, because you can write on them and they look so adorable when they're peeking out from between the pages. I also used a trick that helped me study for exams last spring: I used a lot of sticky notes for the materials I used to study for those exams and it was a weird sort of inspiration to have your studying materials look cute. I picked them up way more than I probably would have otherwise lol. Below you can see some books that have suffered under the sticky notes obsession (left one is the ordinary ones and on the right I put 2 photos with the kawaii sticky notes).
(click on photos to enlarge)
it's ok to stopI've come to realize this past year and a little more that it's ok to DNF books. I used to be the kind of reader who either put books on hold or suffered it out because the compulsion of having to finish so you can review the book was too. darn. strong. But sometimes a book just makes you feel all ...
Whether it's the characters themselves or their decisions; a lackluster plot or offensive language; something you don't agree with or simply don't connect to on any (or some) level; anything else you can imagine that bores you or puts you off -- what I've realized is that IT'S OKAY to put the book away (and never return). Life is short and the hours you could have spent on another book, another couple, another hero or heroine -- they're ticking by mercilessly. It's ok to still rate that book, by the way, or at least that's how I feel; plus I personally like to elaborate some on the reasons why. Also, it's ok to skim a book to the end if it feels like you have lost interest or the book is simply dragging. Don't feel bad about it or feel like you didn't complete a mission, so to speak. I have an A-type personality, so I always feel like a failure when I do this, but I shouldn't; neither should you. It's not a failure and you're not competing with anyone, let alone yourself. Not every book will resonate with you and it's okay.
about writing 'em reviews (and saving time)
I suck at writing long reviews these days. Well. ok. That's on entirely true, but my reviewing habits have changed a lot. Lately I've been reviewing books on Goodreads first and then, maybe if I have time and will, I will also review this book on le blog with a tad bit more explanations. But the reason why I review more books on Goodreads is kind of embarrassing: I feel like I need to be a little more professional on the blog than on Goodreads + on Goodreads I can just say that "it was a good story, but I expected more" / "WHAT AN AMAZING PIECE OF ART GO READ IT Y'ALL" and give my rating whereas on a blog, I feel this need to be more thorough. I guess this is what I've essentially battled with during the last 1.5 years of this blogging slump, but looking at things from another angle, this reviewing habit of sorts helps me review more books. Here's the reason why:
When I review those two sentences or paragraphs, I feel as though I'm not as repetitive in my reviews and it allows me to feel that accomplishment of writing a review in the first place. Plus, if I truly want to talk about this book on le blog, I can always polish it up (or just copy the da*n thing) and publish it here. It saves up a lot of energy and obsessing over it a la "omg but i can't go out, i can't do this, i can't do that, because i still haven't written those reviews ;_________;" since it isn't an issue anymore. What's more important, if I do want to review it later on the blog and in more depth, I have some of my initial thoughts and reactions ready to help me remember what I thought without having to re-read/skim the book. Saves up a lot of time!
As you can see that my "to-review" count is super low. It used to be ~30! There is only one book there right now that I am not reading (it's on hold) and one that I haven't reviewed yet, because I was super angry at the time and couldn't write a review, but will sometime. The rest are all books that I have either recently read or am reading atm. Once I review that book, I put it in the "not-on-blog-yet" shelf if I want to maybe, potentially someday post it on the blog as a mini review or a longer piece. I try to not let the amount of books "to review" surpass over 10, but during the past half a year or so it hasn't been a problem.
documenting my reading (and saving time vol 2)
This brings upon another thing that I've discovered lately. I love making graphics. I love reading. But sometimes, after a while has passed, I don't always necessarily remember all the details from a book to make that graphic. However, what if I suddenly see a photo that brings upon a picspam-making need? Do I have to re-skim the book to remember some other details? Nope! This is why, first of all, Pinterest is so amazing (shameless self promotion: you can find mine here), and this is also why I love reading journals. I used to keep a self-made reading journal, but I received a Penguin reading journal from an OwlCrate subscription box in December and it's a true life saver! In addition to writing down all the books that I read, I can fill it up with key words from the book while I'm reading. This is great for refresing your mind without having to re-read. I also love to pin stuff on my pinterest boards and I have a lot of boards for specific books with photo inspirations. This is also such a neat way to remind yourself what went down and even if you don't make graphics, these tricks could help you when catching up with writing reviews for books you read a while ago. You can keep those boards either secret or public; you can also use We Heart It or Favim which are based on a similar system.
here are some examples of my boards ...
... and photos of the reading journalPS. You notice how my focus when writing down "thoughts" is on details for graphics, yeah? Before this particular journal I used to write down thoughts that popped into my head in that self-made reading journal. These journals are all pocket size usually (though there are bigger ones too), so it's easy to carry around or have beside your bed table, but of course there are many places you can write your thoughts into and I've used a note app on my phone countless of times.
These above are some of my bookish quirks that I have picked up along the way but there are more, so maybe you will someday see a sequel to this (✿◠‿◠) So, tell me! What are some of your blogging or reading habits? Have they changed with time?? I'd love to hear from you how you manage all of your things!