March Reading Wrap-Up

Books Bought:

  • The Comet Seekers, Helen Sedgwick (ARC)
  • The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, Hannah Tinti (ARC)
  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven, Chris Cleave
  • Avenue of Mysteries, John Irving
  • The End of Our Story, Meg Haston (ARC)
  • Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo
  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Read World, Ed. Kelly Jensen
  • Shrill: Notes from a Loud Women, Lindy West (ARC)
  • An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take it Back, Elisabeth Rosenthal (ARC)
  • The Light Between Oceans, M. L. Steadman
  • The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy
  • The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, Dalai Lama XIV, Desmond Tut
  • Gizelle’s Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog, Lauren Fern Watt (ARC)

Books Read:

  • Ten Years in the Tub, Nick Hornby
  • Another Brooklyn, Jacqueline Woodson
  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
  • Toradora! Vol. 1, Yuyuko Takemiya
  • Gizelle’s Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog, Lauren Fern Watt (ARC)
  • Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shutterly (unfinished)
  • Brian’s Winter, Gary Paulsen (unfinished)
  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, Ed. Kelly Jensen (unfinished)

I read a whopping five books this month! A much bigger improvement from my one and three books the months before. I can feel myself moving up in the world. (Just don’t ask me how I managed to start and finish four books before finishing the two I started reading in February. I don’t know.)

I credit the success of this month to a solo challenge I made up and attempted in the span of about three hours. The goal was to read seven books in seven days (or #7books7days which I tagged my tweets with). Although I did not read seven books (clearly) I won’t right it off as a mega failure because I did manage to finish three books that week! Three! In a week! That’s the total of what I read in February!

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Reading Wrap-Up: February 2017

Books Bought:

  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
  • The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
  • Big Little Lies, Liane Moriarty
  • We Are Called to Rise, Laura McBride
  • Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
  • Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Maximum Ride: The Manga #9, James Patterson and NaRae Lee
  • The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
  • Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff

Books Read:

  • Hatchet, Gary Paulsen
  • Maximum Ride: The Manga #9, James Patterson and NaRae Lee
  • We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books, Nick Hornby (unfinished)
  • Hidden Figures, Margot Lee Shetterly (unfinished)
  • Brian’s Winter, Gary Paulsen (unfinished)

[In the process of writing my March wrap-up I realized I never posted February, so alas here it is.]

How did I manage to buy twelve different books in the span of 28 days? February is supposed to be the shortest month and I managed to drop an ungodly amount of money on just chunks of paper. I hate myself.Read More »

Life of a Bookseller

Back in October, I started working at Barnes and Noble.

During my interview, my now-manager asked me the usual initial interview question: “Why do you want to work here?” and my eyes lit up and the corners of my mouth involuntarily curled and I answered: “This has literally been my dream since high school, even before I could drive.”

Honestly, sixteen year old Cecelia is just about dying. I think I’ve applied to work at Barnes and Noble about twice a year since I got my license.

Working at Barnes and Noble is only a part-time job for me, a way to make some extra money as I save up to move out. It’s basic retail; dealing with unhappy customers, standing on your feet all day, cleaning up the weirdest messes. But there’s the added bonus of being surrounded by books.

During a typical shift, I’m usually reshelving misplaced or abandoned books, reorganizing out of place books, helping customers find the exact books they want, or doling out recommendations to customers who don’t know what they’re looking for (yet).

Yesterday I answered the phone. It was an upbeat customer, speaking quickly but clearly out of breath. She was running late for a meeting but was needed a book, The Unquiet Mind, and was wondering if we could put it aside for her. (We place customer orders on hold literally all the time and running around the store pulling books for customers is one of my favorite things to do.) I looked it up on the computer and we had very limited quantities; I asked if I could put her on hold while I double-checked to make sure it was on the shelf.Read More »

Saturday Night Playlist 2/11/17

Everyone has different music they prefer to write to. I generally like upbeat music when I’m getting started, and then softer and calmer music once I’ve gotten into my rhythm. If it’s a project I’ve been working on for a while I typically will make a playlist specific to those characters or the plot that matches the mood and the tone of the piece.

I’m starting to make Saturday Night Playlists, short playlists of about a dozen songs to carry through the weekend. This week’s consists of my personal choice to get started writing a new project (which is exactly where I’m at now). I chose songs I’ve recently discovered that have an upbeat, fast paced rhythm and optimistic messages to hopefully jumpstart a productive Sunday!

  1. Control, Natalie Taylor
  2. Faultlines, HEARTWATCH
  3. Good Times Go So Fast, Steven Roth
  4. Wild Ride, High Dive Heart
  5. We Are the Dreamers, Youth Warrant
  6. Don’t Look Back, Grayson Matthews ft. Tim Moxam
  7. Sanctuary, Allie X
  8. Summer Forever, Bahari
  9. Moscow, Autoheart
  10. Lit, Noirre
  11. Sanibel, Harbour
  12. Lost At Sea, Empty Houses

Do you have any recommendations of music you like to write to?

Heartbreak Hotel: On Embarrassing Writing

On Embarrassing Writing

The other day I came across a blogging prompt, “what is something you’re embarrassed you’ve written?” and I was all over that like mustard on a hot dog.

I think the easiest thing for me to claim to be embarrassed over would be my fan fiction I wrote back in high school, but like honestly I may have a lot to say about fan fiction and not much of it is embarrassing. More on that subject another time.

Generally speaking, much of what I write is embarrassing, especially if I’m reading it over after a long break. However when I was brainstorming what to write about for this prompt, I decided what would typically be labeled “embarrassing” isn’t really embarrassing to me, but what I initially started writing seriously and was really proud of and excited about turned out to be embarrassing once I reread it and it wasn’t anywhere near as spectacular as I thought it was.Read More »

Reading Wrap-Up: January 2017

Books Bought:

  • Daring Greatly, Brené Brown
  • Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More, Janet Mock
  • We are the Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barack Obama, ed. E.J. Dionne Jr and Joy-Ann Reid
  • Camp Rolling Hills, Stacy Davidowitz
  • The Freedom Writers Diary, The Freedom Writers with Erin Gruwell
  • A Dog’s Purpose, W. Bruce Cameron
  • Funny Girl, Nick Hornby
  • Girl in Translation, Jean Kwok

Books Read:

  • Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
  • Hatchet, Gary Paulsen (unfinished)
  • Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books, Nick Hornby (unfinished)

Reading Wrap Up January 2017

In October I made a bookstagram account and was thrust into the realm of reading once again. I read a disgraceful twelve books in 2016, so I was feeling motivated (and a little envious honestly) of all these other people who could easily knock out a book in three days. Who has time to do that? Did these people not have friends or work or Facebook profiles or 2048?

Anyway, I picked up Nick Hornby’s Ten Years in the Tub while I was leaving Barnes and Noble. It stuck out on the shelf as I was walking by and the yellow spine was practically glowing like an omen. It’s a literal book brick in every definition; an aesthetically pleasing rectangle with hefty pages and a thick spine. It costs an even $20 (seriously, not even a decimal point was placed). I bought it on a whim, thinking “wow! Probably the first book blogger! He’s been writing about the books he’s read since 2003!” I had to have it. (Of course I have to have literally every book I’ve ever touched so that’s really not saying anything too different.)

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2017 Writing and Reading Goals: Revisited

Hello y’all. It’s been a while.

The first month of 2017 came and went like a hurricane. You saw it coming on the radar and you prepared by hunkering down in your home after boarding your windows and buying extra milk and bread and yet the storm still raged. Yikes.

I spent my last week of December making a list of 2017 goals (not resolutions) and filling in my newly purchased blank bullet journal with naive excitement. This was going to be the year! I was going to get *everything* done! I was going to be the star student of my own life!

If there’s one thing I’m really good at is setting loads and loads of unrealistic goals for myself. 😅

A month into the year and I’ve grasped a better handle on reality and I’m ready to re-evaluate my goals and set some better ones.

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November Goals & To-Do List

Where did October go? I swear, some days I was writing the date down and I would have the urge to write September. This month flew right by (and I barely accomplished anything I wanted to whoops).

My main priority for November is finishing my NaNoWriMo novel (obviously) and that’s already going to be a challenge considering November is traditionally a busy month. I just started a new part time job so in the midst of training at work, juggling a new schedule, and preparing for the holidays, I need to make sure I stay sane somehow.

November Goals

Here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in the upcoming weeks.

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The Day Before NaNoWriMo

NaNoWrimo officially begins in 24 hours. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably questioning how you can possibly manage to win this thing and mentally beating yourself up for not preparing as much as you should’ve. Even though it’s Halloween, here are some last minute preparations you can complete today.

The Day Before NaNoWriMo

Print off a word count sheet.
I don’t know about you, but I find a ton of motivation in visibly seeing how much I’ve already accomplished (and how much I have left to go). The last time I won NaNoWriMo I drew out a whiteboard on my wall with a word count bar. Every time I hit another 10% of my word count, I would color in the bar. I also would write on the word count the most words I’d written in a day and try and beat my own “high score.” Find out what motivates you and create a sheet or a board you can hang out your wall to hold you accountable.

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Last Minute Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Raise your hand if you’re a procrastinator! 🙋

I went pumpkin picking on Tuesday. I came home with three pumpkins. I did not question it.

My friend Irene and I are planning on carving these pumpkins this weekend. For the rest of you who have yet to carve your pumpkins in preparation for Halloween on Monday, here are some of my favorite ideas.

The classic Jack O’ Lantern face.
Definitely easy and recognizable, with endless ways to make the face creative and unique.Read More »