Thursday, 16 January 2014

Professionalism?

Right, fair warning, this isn't exactly a ranty post, but its something that popped into my mind and I really wanted to share my thoughts on the topic after a lot of deliberation - this wasn't even a planned post but here goes anyway. And, really, what it is, is professionalism in the blogging world and the like, as you'll see further on. (I did warn you about the possible ranting though, don't blame me if I don't make any sense though...)

After going around a few blogs I read regularly, I found a new blog (which is amazing, make no mistakes) called ThirstForFiction, and the reviews on books are amazing, not to mention that they very maturely showcase the opinions of the review writer (Rhys).
                         Now, it wasn't this particular blog that started me thinking along the topic of professionalism, but it was the one that prompted me to write a post on it this morning (although its Tuesday, 14th, when I'm writing this). And the main thought(s) I have are; do you have to be professional, do you reviews need to be full of clever grammar? etc.

Now, bearing in mind that I know bloggers ranging from 10 year old's, to 18's, to 28 yr old's, vocabulary skills among every one of them are going to be at different levels, which isn't a problem with myself, I find all the reviews excellent in their own way. But to some degree I think you need to be slightly professional, I mean, in blogging, you can't just go on and off as you feel like, its a commitment, once you have viewers you can't just bail on them without warning for two months then come back.
                          Also, interviewing authors, I've gotten to interview some pretty amazing authors, like Sarah Crossan (author of Breathe and Resist) and the entire time I was sending her the interview questions I was majorly fangirling, but I phrased my questions as well as I could and tried to not let my excitement seep through, but I think I kinda failed with the last question - but the point I was trying to make was that when you get into blogging you are given some responsibility, not that this should be pressuring in any way, and you have to handle that well enough to keep everything running, meaning that slight professionalism is required, though I really don't want to put this in a way that makes people think alienating yourself into a professional business-ey person, is the way to go, because it definitely isn't.

Reviews is what nags at the back of my mind most though, interviews? check. scheduling posts? check. reviews? ehh, not so much. What I mean by this, is I often come across reviews that are really, really, excellent, they show opinions perfectly, and clearly, and seem to be the epitome of English language, which then makes me look at my own reviews and think; "well, that's a load of crap". Not for the first time, I go back edit my reviews, and change it to some more professional, more adult. Which is so damn frustrating, because in the end it will go back to the way it was, because I don't feel comfortable putting on a "mature" voice, it really isn't me. Sure, I like to balance out my reviews properly, but I feel comfortable doing that, I feel comfortable describing plots and techniques without having to use all different types of writing techniques, and yet, and yet (!!) there is always a time when I will look back, think "who the hell wants to read this? it sounds like it was written by a rambling teenager". Again, ITS SO FRUSTRATING. Because, they were written by a rambling teenager! And its just this endless cycle of thinking the reviews I write are crap, changing them, thinking that's even worse, going back to the way they were; and this just happens over and over and over again.

On reflection though, its a lot easier to see how stupid this is, of course I'm going to be influenced by the blogs I read, quite a few of them are what you could call my "blogging idols" but I hate that this is the way I'm getting influenced, even though its not the bloggers fault that they're so good with writing those amazing reviews, and I definitely want to point out I'm not blaming anyone at all, this was just to share some nagging thoughts that have been on my mind for a while. Coming to the end of this post, I'm not really sure what the point is now. Do you need professionalism in blogging? To a very acute point, I believe. But other than that, if you're not enjoying what you're doing  its really pointless. And I do enjoy blogging and writing reviews, I enjoy it a lot, its just seems that after everything's said and done, that's when I start having doubts - considering how introverted I am, though, its probably just me.

Well... that was quite rambly, and ranty, but hopefully you managed to grasp my point. That entire post, yeah, that one, mhm, yeah, up there ^^ was entirely me, no techniques, no thinking about the style or grammar; written spontaneously when I felt the need to talk about this topic. And I don't have a problem with it, I don't mind how ranty it is, because the whole point of this was to rant a little bit, given the frustration of the situation (no intentional rhyme there), and let you all know how I was feeling about it. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

New Years Resolutions (Bookish Version)

We are now in 2014, and this post is - obviously - a bit belated seeing as its the 13th but I made quite a few News Years Resolutions, and many of them are related to bookish themes, blogging, and the like, So, here are my main bookish New Years Resolutions:

1. Read and Review A Classic Each Month -
Unlike the stereotype I've heard often, and ashamedly believed in when I was younger, stating that classics are boring - I find them absolutely compelling reads, but I don't get to read them as often as I would like to, for various reasons, but now I want and am going to read and review a classic at the end of every month - this month's classic is 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens - which, for those of you who have read The Infernal Devices Trilogy (by Cassandra Clare), may ring a few bells.

2. Get More People To Read -
Ok, ok, wait, wait, wait, I didn't mean it as blatantly as the subtitle said, that wasn't meant to be a threat! Obviously, reading is a big part of my life and I find people who barely read, which I find shocking in a way because I have such love for book and novels - so, I've made it another one of my bookish resolutions to try and get more people interested in reading and by consequence buying books from bookshops instead of online shopping. I do get teary eyed thinking of a very close future world where there are no bookshops to walk into, one click and you have your book - it doesn't contain the excitement I regularly get when walking into a bookshop, it seems half the point of loving books disappears then.

3. Start Putting Up Videos On YouTube By Mid-January -
For quite a while I have been considering going another step and start to vlog about books and bookish matters as well - I watch quite a few book vloggers such as Whitty Novels, JesseTheReader, KatyTastic, and they're an inspiration to me in book blogging and vlogging. I set myself the period of mid-Jan to put up my first video, and regularly upload weekly from then. And very rightly so, my very first vlog will be up on Monday of next week, there you have it in writing Hawwa, just don't kill me when you see how rubbish it is. I'm really excited about this 'venture' and hope you'll all like the content I'm producing! If not... well, I did try, truly did try.

4. Write 3000 Words A Day -
I once got asked whether I loved writing as much as I love reading, and the answer is a big, fat YES. But like reading classics, as much as I love it, I can't do it as often as I would like to, so I decided to make a compromise with myself - 3000 words a day was something I could keep up, fairly easily, and I would be writing regularly then.

5. Set A Regular Posting Date & Stick To It -
Last but not least, I want to set a regular posting date and stick to it no matter what - after some deliberation I decided that a post every third day (instead of day in day out as I was trying to follow over the past month, which was increasingly harder with school work etc) e.g. Mon 13th, Thurs 16th, Sun 19th, is a period that is easier to work with. Also, because of this, I've made myself write all my posts (with exceptions of reviews) two - three weeks in advance so I'm neither disorganized or rushed!

Well, I think that's just about everything, but I just want to clarify that if I don't manage to keep these resolutions up, I'm not going to blame myself or anything like that. I think its enough that I've made these points as a commitment that I did/do mean to follow for as long as possible.

WHAT WERE YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS? 

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A to Z Bookish Survey

AtoZsurvey

Author You've Read The Most Books From:
Hmm... Its a cross between Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, and John Green.

Best Sequel Ever:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I liked THG but, before finding out it was part of a trilogy, I had actually read CF first, and it has stayed my favorite!

Currently Reading:
The Bone Season By Samantha Shannon and Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Drink Of Choice While Reading:
I don't usually drink whilst I'm reading. Mainly because I get so into the book I am reading I forget to drink it!

E-Reader or Physical Book?
Definitely a physical book girl. I just love the feel (and smell!) of having a real book in your hands. Though, I do own a kindle; for those times I can't make it to the bookshop.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Well, seeing as I'm in high school now this should be a relatively easy decision.  Nope, there's too many good guys to choose from, ahahah, I think I'll go with Simon from The Mortal Instruments by Cassie Clare or Auggie from Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I just love both characters!!!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
City of Bones by Cassie Clare

Hidden Gem Book:
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Important Moment In your Reading Life: 

Starting this blog! Its been a really wonderful experience, and I doubt I'd be as open to other genres as I am now!

Just Finished:

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

Kinds of Books You Won't Read:

For my readers benefit I've opened up to more genres but I still don't really read full on Romance or Science Fiction, but I'm warming up to Sci-Fi.

Longest Book You've Read:

Umm, I'm not quite sure but it's either The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, or one of the Game of Thrones books.

Major Book Hangover Because Of:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Number of Bookcases You Own: 

I have two large (and black) bookcases in my room, as well as a smaller cabinet.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Gosh, before blogging I used to re-read loads of my books. Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen, The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, and My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. 

Preferred Place to Read:

I have this big brown chair (well, rather couch) and I usually read there, its just so comfy!

Quote That Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From A 

Book 

You've Read:

"Look, there. Now. Now. Now." from The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. This probably doesn't make much sense just reading it by itself, but the quote has... 'sentimental' value, to me personally.

Reading Regret:

I regret not being with The Mortal Insruments from the beginning. I looked at the book(s) multiple times but never picked them up, and now I'm in love with the series (and Jace)!! *ironic fangirl moment*

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

The Chaos Walking Trilogy. I've read the last book, Monsters and Men, and would like to read the first and second books!

Three Of Your All-Time Favorite Books:

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and lastly Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

No idea, haha... :3

Very Excited For This Release More Than All Others:

CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE BY CASSANDRA CLARE - I don't think I could handle the feels though, how can six characters die???

Worst Bookish Habit:

Oooh, hard one! I think my worst bookish habit is that I am a clean freak about my books and bookshelves!! 

X Marks The Spot: Starts At The Top Left Of Your Shelf And Pick The 27th Book:

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Your Latest Book Purchase:

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

ZZZ-Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. More sleep procrastination xD




Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Then and Now



So, its new year and I’ve been blogging for over seven months now. And I thought it was a great opportunity to talk about ‘Then and Now’, a lot of things have changed due to blogging, but in good ways. For example I never used to understand how people could have unread book on their shelves, but now… I’m all too well experienced with having books sitting un-read and an ever growing TBR pile! At this very moment my TBR pile is over 100 books, honestly. Before I’d be starving for reading material because I chomped through all my books, now I’m just trying to get through all the books I need to review. There’s been a few times when I’ve actually not wanted to read, and looking back I’m sad about that, but I know about falling into reading slumps. Really, I think it’s just a lot of determination and deep seated love for reading that keeps me going through these mountains of words. And in the end, generally, it’s worth it, because you discover some truly wonderful books.

I think my love of reading has actually increased due to blogging now; I’m more enthusiastic about books and literature than ever before. I’m also busier than ever, with blogging taking up 30% of my time and school mostly taking up the rest, I have to admit it does get hard to balance everything. And in all honesty I am NOT the world most organized person. That’s definitely one thing I’m working on this year.

All together my own daily routine has changed, waking up in the morning checking if the post came, the expected happy dance if there’s a package. Like Christmas morning all over again. Another thing I’ve learnt to do even better, thanks to book blogging, is multi-tasking; doing homework, talking to the lovelies on twitter, formatting posts, reading and replying to emails. It definitely gets hectic at time, as I’m sure a lot of other book bloggers know. But I wouldn’t trade the experiences I’ve had over the past seven months, or the people I’ve met. The blogosphere has to be the kindest, most welcoming (and quirky!) community that I’m so thankful to be a part of.

So, it’s a new year, and a whole new chance to blog about books I love, books I fangirled about, and just general geekiness over the written word, happy New Year!