the sunday post header

The Sunday Post // short updates

Hey y’all!

We’re onto the last week of the month of February already! How’s everyone holding up? I’m quite tired, to be honest. Mostly mentally and emotionally. One of my main problems is not getting in enough alone time every week to recharge.

All I want is some time to myself haha. But, as this post gets published I’m out with my book club and not alone so.. lol. Maybe next week. Hopefully.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Reading Update

I was even more garbage at reading this week than last week. I’m going to reduce my Goodreads challenge for sure at the end of this month.

I read two romance books to pass time, and I’m listening to another one on audiobook right now. It’s mindless reading.

The Thing Around Your Neck is still going on as well, as I’m slowly reading it with a group of people on Instagram.

Another book I’m currently reading as an ebook is an ARC who’s review I have to post later this week. It’s quite good so keep an eye out for that review!

What did I watch last week?

I’m just bingeing episodes of Shark Tank on Netflix lol. I’ve seen the first 6 seasons and few of episodes of season 7, so I’m not missing anything as Netflix only has seasons 7, 8 and 9.

It’s so nice to watch it again. I used to love watching the show and it’s keeping me gripped. The show is actually really nice to watch and I learn a lot of things from it. It’s quite informative in the business point-of-view.

Updates on life!

I paid a visit to the doctor yesterday and I’ve been cleared for surgery. In case you’re a new reader or follower here, I have a neck swelling which is a bronchial cyst. I’ve had it for about a year. A few months back, I ended up in the ER ward due to a common cold which infected the cyst as well. The swelling kept increasing and became painful.

That was when we realized that I HAVE to get a surgery to remove the cyst. But my thyroid levels were too low to go for it.

Now my thyroid levels have increased a bit using meds. Not enough to be in normal range, but it should be okay for general anesthesia. My swelling is staying constant in size now, but it might increase again if I fall sick. And I fall sick very easily.

So we need to do the surgery ASAP. I have to figure out dates with my internship and when I can take off for the surgery. Probably won’t be very soon but sometime in the next few months!

Instagram?

I’ve been BARELY active on Instagram recently, and it’s because I just am not in the mood for using the app. I barely even open the app right now. My motivation for Instagram is coming in waves and… I may stop using it soon? Who knows.

But yeah I haven’t posted on my feed for two weeks and Instagram barely crosses my mind. I don’t open it to engage with others as well.


And that’s it for this week! I know this is way shorter than my usual updates but I don’t have much to say. This past week has been pretty uneventful.

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How was your week? Was it more eventful than mine?

Loveboat, Taipei || unpopular opinion alert!

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

There’s been a lot of talk about this book since before it’s release. Bloggers who were lucky enough to get an ARC of this praised it a lot. The word got out pretty well, and tons of people got to reading it.

Everything I heard about this book was good. It was only positive. And that’s the reason why I expected it to be really good. I did not expect for it have elements that I really dislike.

But I did.

THE PLOT

Ever is a first generation Chinese-American. And like all Asian parents, they have high dreams for Ever. She’s expected to become a doctor.

But all Ever wants to do is dance. She loves to dance and choreograph dance routines. Her dream is to get into NYU Tisch School of Arts.

During the summer after high school, when she had plans of dancing and other things, her parents suddenly send her to Taipei for a summer programs. They want her to know her culture and learn Mandarin.

But the program nicknamed “Loveboat” is much more than a clean summer program to learn things. And this summer is going to shape Ever’s life in ways she never expected.

MY REVIEW

Let’s do this review in list format because I have MANY POINTS.

WHAT I LIKED:

  • Asian-American life representation.

Life is a lot like that even in Asian countries. Parents sacrifice SO MUCH that us only thinking about doing what makes us happy is almost a crime. I’m literally an engineering student in college and not doing literature because of my parents.

It’s so normal for us. And I love how it’s represented accurately, describing how it is for the kids AND the parents.

  • Complex relationships.

There were so many relationships shown that had layers to them. Between Ever and her romantic interest. Ever and her parents. Ever and her roommate.

There were even second-hand mentions of relationships not explicitly shown in the book. I loved reading all of it because it’s how life is. And the author managed to show just how many different complex relationships exist for just one person.

  • What it’s like to be Asian in America.

As the summer program is full of Asian kids living in other countries, we got a few bits of proper focus on how life is for them. The way they are treated, the almost-normal racist comments. It hit hard, but I feel good knowing that non-Asian readers will understand what it’s like.

  • Dreams and sacrfices.

We know that how we are brought up affects us a lot. It shapes our self-worth, our attitude towards life, and our ambitions and goals. This book really showcased the different types of lives and how parents really affect children.

  • Supporting characters had significance too.

Every supporting character we saw had dreams and goals. They had desires in life. The author showcased so many different scenarios through them. This one group of guys just went around breaking Asian stereotypes and I LOVED IT. Huge points for these things.

  • Character growth.

There was so much of it! Characters learned through mistakes, learnt new things, started having different outlooks and became better people by the end. That was lovely to watch.

What I did not like:

  • The middle of the book was dull and uninteresting.

The beginning started off strong. The ending was good. But damn the middle was annoying.

After Ever got to the program, it became all about teenage rebellion and boy crazy thoughts. It felt like a full one eighty from the first few chapters.

It got me so disinterested in the book that I PAUSED listening to it as an audiobook. In order to make myself finish the book, I had to pick it up as an ebook after a week.

This alone ruined the experience for me.

OVERALL

Other than the random boy-crazy rebelling stuff in the middle which threw the entire book off for me, it was really good.

I recommend this book for the Asian-American representation, complex relationships, and character growth.

But if you don’t like ANY of boy crazy random things, you won’t like it much like me.

I rate this book…

3/5 stars

the sunday post header

The Sunday Post // all the updates!

Hey y’all!

It’s been so long since I’ve posted a life update! I think it’s been about three weeks since my last Sunday post but I didn’t even realize it. The days are going by very fast because all my days are FILLED.

To be honest, I don’t know what exactly to update on but I shall just mention whatever I can think of.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

My classes started up again.

Yes, I’m still doing my internship. But college doesn’t revolve around us students with internships.

For the last semester, we have classes 3 days a week—Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Since I have internship Monday to Friday, I was (fortunately) given permission to skip classes for two days. Attendance on Saturdays is still required, though.

So from now on, I’m officially back on the six day week track.

Yesterday was my first day back in college and also for many of my friends. Most of us are doing internships so it was like a reunion after so long. It was so nice!

Everyone asked each other updates and caught up on lives. Since we’re a big group, we don’t text individually with everyone else. Most interactions and updates happen in groups so it was much needed.

We spent time like old times yesterday. My friend and I, who got into the same company, treated the rest of our friends in Taco Bell since we got our first stipend. And we played card games, which is a classic thing that we do.

So yeah, it was pretty fun.

Reading Update

I was off to a very good start at the beginning of this week. Especially since I got an audiobook subscription a while back.

But my reading just.. slowed down a lot. During the week I barely read. And Loveboat, Taipei which I was listening to as an audiobook was not very enjoyable. It put me off and I just stopped listening to it for a while.

In order to finish it, I picked it up as an ebook in the last few days and skimmed the rest of it. While the ending was good, I just did not have a good time reading it overall.

Other than that, I finished no other books. So yeah, I’m pretty sure I will be reducing my reading goal for the year.

Here’s the reading update on The Thing Around Your Neck:

TV Show & Movie update

I watched so many things recently!

Extraordinarily You

I watching this Kdrama a couple weeks back. Binged it during the weekend, actually. It was actually really nice. I liked the complexity of the concept and it’s very different than the stories I’ve seen around the same concept.

Sky Castle

Watched this Kdrama during the week a couple weeks back. It’s 20 episodes long and I was HOOKED the whole time. It’s a brilliant drama in the Dark Academia genre which talks about a ton of things. Complex characters, complex relationships and a very interesting story.

Miss Americana

Watched this on Netflix last weekend. I’ve been a real fan of Taylor Swift only in the last year or so, when she started speaking out on things and became more than a regular singer. This movie brought many things from her life to light. It was nice to watch and learn more about her as a person.

P.S. I Still Love You

This sequel to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was nice but… I didn’t like it all that much. It wasn’t special. There were a ton of cool plotlines from the book that were scrapped. In fact, almost everything other than the love triangle was scrapped. It made the movie seem to have less substance.

I’m excited to watch the third movie, though. It’s less about new romances and more about life and choices. It should be quite nice.

Spinning Out

I watched this series throughout the past week. It’s actually quite small, with only 10 half-hour episodes.

But it packed SO MUCH in those 5 hours. The show is too good, and I have no idea why Netflix cancelled it WITHIN A MONTH of releasing it. That’s such a disappointment.

It’s honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Random thoughts

I’ve been having small but really good conversations with people recently. Just talking about things and finding out various perspectives. It’s always interesting to see how different people view the same thing.

And I really like conversations where we talk about something in depth, ask each other questions on things and explain perspectives. It helps me understand other people better. I also sometimes learn new things.

So yeah. That’s been the random highlight of last week.


That’s about all I have to say. There have been a ton of small things happening but not interesting enough to share lol.

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How was your week? What did you read or watch?

reading challenges updates and goals @ the wordy habitat book blog

January Reading Challenges update + February goals

Hey y’all!

2020 is the first year where I take on reading challenges/readathons for the first time. I mentioned all the ones I’m participating in last year, and I was hesitant if I’ll be able to truly keep up with them. But I’m trying!

In this post, I’ll go through my updates on every challenge and the goals I have for this month.

GOODREADS READING CHALLENGE

I kept my goal 150 books, same as last year. But I’m already behind on the challenge lol.

Right now, I’m 3 books behind on my challenge with 12/150 books completed. 9 books were read in January. That’s a low number compared to previous years as January is usually the month when I read many books. But this time I didn’t have a full sem break in Jan so the reads went down as well.

My goal this month is to catch up with the challenge. If I don’t catch up by the end of February, I’ll mostly lower my goal. The rest of the year will just be more hectic so if I don’t catch up now, I won’t later.

SOUTH-ASIAN READING CHALLENGE 2020

Started by Fanna, the goal is just to read as many South-Asian books as you can. There are also Books of the Month (BOTM) picked by the hosts every month.

In January, I read one of the BOTMs which was My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma. I almost didn’t read it but managed to squeeze it in at the end of the month.

For February, I’m reading 2 South-Asian books. One is Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen which I’m currently listening to as an audiobook. The other is Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma which I picked up in the bookstore recently.

#StartOnYourShelfathon

In my excitement for this challenge, I made a whole post about what I’d like to read in Janurary. I read three books from that list and stopped following it. I’m a mood reader so I honestly expected it.

Books I read that fit this challenge:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern
  • The Silva Mind Control Method by Jose Silva
  • Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Books I want to read in February:

  • The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (currently reading!)
  • Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma
  • Frankly in Love by David Yoon

2020 POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE

My progress on this challenge is LAUGHABLE. The only reason I got any ticked off was because I read books that fit two challenges.

Prompts I completed:

  • Book about a world leader: Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • A book set in Japan: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  • A book with more than 20 words in the title: My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma
  • A book with a 3 word-title: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I’m doing the same in February as January. I’m trying to fit all my reads picked for other challenges into prompts for this challenge.

Prompts I’m aiming for in February:

  • A book that’s published in 2020: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (already finished!)
  • A book set in a country beginning with C: Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen which is set in China.
  • A book you picked because the title caught your attention: The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie which was a random buy at the bookstore because of the title.
  • A book by a WOC: Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma

And that’s it! It feels like a lot haha. Let’s hope I can do it all.

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Are you participating in any challenges? What’s your status?

My So-Called Bollywood Life || the book I needed

my so called bollywood life by nisha sharma book cover // book review by Sumedha @ the wordy habitat

Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I picked up this book as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge, and I was NOT disappointed. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read it in January but after Kafka On The Shore I needed something light and this was perfect.

THE PLOT

The book stars Vaneeta “Winnie” Mehta—a film enthusiast (particularly Bollywood films), type A Indian student, and dramatic enough to make Bollywood writers proud.

After Winnie is cheated on and dumped by Raj, whom she thought was “the one” because of an astrologer’s prophecy, she sets out to change her destiny in the stars.

Enter: Dev Khanna, a guy Winnie had a spark with in freshman year before starting to date Raj. A guy who, while not matching her true love prophecy, feels more right for her than Raj ever did.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is perfect for readers who like YA. But it’s even more perfect for Bollywood-lovers. Following Winnie’s complicated life about teenage love, future plans, and family dynamics with Indian traditions, this book will transport you into a fun world.

MY REVIEW

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

I cannot describe just how much I enjoyed this. It has all the Indian elements I ever wanted in a YA setting. As someone who loves YA and barely sees true Indian representation, this warmed my heart so much. I could cry.

All the things I loved:

(pretty much everything lol)

  • Winnie Mehta is awesome. I absolutely loved reading through her perspective. She’s energetic, exuberant, and is very passionate about films. I adored her. ❤
  • EVERYTHING INDIAN. Of course, I have to mention this. Even the few Hindi sentences (smoothly translated in English for everyone else) were a huge addition. I felt included. *cries* The traditions, beliefs, everything was amazing to read about. #relatable

“Kamina, kutta, sala,” she said sweetly when she answered (the phone).

  • Family presence. Winnie’s relationship with her family, especially her dad and grandmom, was so nice to see.
  • It wasn’t just romance. A lot of YA novels tend to sideline everything else in the favour of scenes that contribute to the romance. That didn’t happen here. We saw enough about Winnie’s culture, other relationships, and mostly importantly her drive towards film. She was determined to do anything to get into NYU. The struggle and stress was shown.
  • Winnie and Bridget. These two best friends were adorable to watch and I loved everything about their friendship.
  • The romance. I mean, come on. Of course I’m going to mention this. As the heart of the story, the romance did NOT disappoint. Honestly, it gave me quite a few feels.

“I’m done with romance.”

Nani snorted. “You’re Indian! We live for romance.”

A book is not just made of major plot points, but also the small settings. My So-Called Bollywood Life was chock full of small scenes/parts which make a difference to the reader. From Winnie dreaming about her favourite actor to people belittling Indian beliefs, there were tons of moments that added to the experience.

OVERALL

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, and totally recommend it to all YA lovers.

I did notice that it’s not specifically targeted for Indian readers, as in that the traditions are subtly explained and Hindi terms are translated. So if you want to have a fun and light YA read, you can pick this up without any worries.

I’m so glad I was introduced to this book through the challenge because I doubt I would have come across it otherwise.

I rate this book…

4.5/5 stars

www wednesday @ the wordy habitat, all the bookish updates, currently reading, mini book reviews, books to read next.

WWW Wednesday // 05 Feb 2020

Hey everyone!

Ever since my internship started halfway through January, my reading has significantly gone down. Right now, I’m 4 books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. This last week, I’ve been reading whenever I can to keep pace.

My goal is to catch up on the challenge in the next two weeks or so. Let’s hope I can do it lol. Otherwise, I might reduce my goal.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What did you recently finish reading?

1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

To be honest, I finished this on 26th which is not in the last 7 days. But I want to talk about it since I didn’t in any post.

I like the author’s style as in Norwegian Wood. The underlying intention of the plot was a good concept as well. But the world-building and the fully developed plot did not make sense. I was confused a lot. After I finished the book, it left no lasting impression on me.

It was honestly disappointing. I expected a lot out of it since it’s a very popular Murakami book that many love, but I didn’t like it. Only after posting my disappointment over it did I find that many others didn’t like it as well.

So yeah, it is a popular book that I didn’t like.

2. My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

Read this as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge after Kafka on the Shore since I wanted an easy feel-good book. It was really nice! Loved all the Indian elements and Bollywood references. The romance was quite nice too. But mainly, I loved the characters.

I’ll post a review on it in a few days, so look out for that!

3. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

When this released, it became super popular amongst romance readers online. The hype made me wary because it can always lead me wrong in the romance genre. There are things that I specifically don’t like.

I finally decided to read it as I already had it on my Kindle. And it was nice!!!! The book was so nice.

Main points: set in a small town, includes a Renaissance Fair(!!) and the romance is hate-to-love. It was so nice to watch the two main characters grow closer through banter and conversations about Shakespeare.

The hype did not lead me wrong here.

4. #TheRealCinderella by Yesenia Vargas

Okay so I’ll be honest. This wasn’t even on my radar.

I got an audiobook subscription few days back, mainly to listen during commute. As I walk for most of my commute duration, I can’t read. Audiobooks never worked for me before but I really wanted to try them again since it’ll help with my commute.

I found this book while perusing the selection available on Storytel. Since it would be my first time listening to an audiobook while commuting, I thought I’d try an easy read to see if I can manage concentrating to the book while on my way.

#TheRealCinderella sounded very much like the movie A Cinderella Story starring Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray. I was curious whether the story was an almost literal copy, and it would be an easy read. That’s why I picked it up randomly.

Now that I’ve finished it, I can say that it was pretty much the same as the movie’s plot. Click here for my full review on the book.


What are you currently reading?

It seems to that I’ve gone back to reading multiple books at a time haha. And it’s only because they’re all on different mediums.

1. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Picked this one up in my last bookstore run. I was curious and honestly wanted a small book to read. This caught my eye since it’s short stories.

I’ve read only about two short stories so far, but it’s going good. I’m not a fan of short stories, generally. I want to try though. Let’s hope I enjoy it.

2. Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

This was already on my Kindle and my Kindle was next to me on the couch during my weekend laziness. So I started reading this book.

Not going to lie, I don’t think I’ll like it..? The beginning was kinda weird and I don’t like the characters all that much. I’ll read a bit more and decide whether I want to DNF* it.

*Did Not Finish: book blogger speak for not liking the book enough to abandon it midway.

3. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Quite a few people I follow have been RAVING about this book, especially Fanna. When I saw the title available on Storytel, I had to start it as my next audiobook.

I just started it this morning on my way to work so I’m not going to make any judgements just yet. Let’s see how it goes.


What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m a mood reader and I pick up books randomly, so I’m not sure. But there are books that I hope to read this month. It could be next week, or it may not be.

1. Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma

Picked this book up on my last bookstore run along with The Thing Around Your Neck. It caught my eye because the author is claimed to be India’s highest selling female author. I’ve never heard of her though, so I thought I’ll give her work a try.

The synopsis clues in that it’s a romance so it should be perfect for February’s South-Asian Reading Challenge prompt which is Mohabbat i.e. love. Keeping in theme with Valentine’s day and all.

2. The Worst Best Man by Mia Rosa

This book has been on my TBR for a while now, ever since I saw it on someone’s blog post. It released just yesterday and I’m super excited to read it.

I also found a romance book club on Instagram called Romancetheque Book Club. It is hosted by @thebibliotheque whom I’ve been following for a long time, and our reading tastes are quite similar. Joining the book club was a no-brainer.

The book pick for February is The Worst Best Man so it’s extra incentive for me to read this book soon.


And that’s it for my bookish updates!

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Tell me about your bookish updates! What are you currently reading? What did you read recently?

The Bluest Eye || a confusing read

The bluest eye by Toni Morrison book review

Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

For the past couple months, I’ve been seeing Toni Morrison mentioned a lot online. Several bookstagrammers and bloggers whom I follow are reading Morrisson’s works. Of course, all of this got me curious about the author and her works.

Right in time, my book club chose The Bluest Eye as our book of the month. That got me motivated to read the book and try the author’s works.

Trigger warnings: racist slurs, bullying, rape, neglect, abuse, humiliation. (Probably more but I can’t remember, so make sure to find out before picking it up)

The Plot

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s debut novel and has a unique take on racism. Through this novel, the author crafts a situation which causes a young Black girl to desperately want blue eyes.

Showcasing multiple issues such as racism, abuse, and neglect, the book shows how hard life is for a young innocent girl to want blue eyes. Blue eyes, which are usually a feature of white people who are loved and cherished.

The Bluest Eye is definitely not a light read. It’s poignant with a message in every chapter, and has a strong voice as a book.

My Review

First of all, let me say that this book wasn’t easy to read. And this was so because of multiple reasons.

The timeline of the book isn’t linear. The chapters are scattered and it is up to the reader to figure out the timeline after reading most or all of the book. The jumps were very confusing in the beginning that I gave up trying to make sense, and instead just took the book chapter by chapter.

As the chapters were scattered, I was trying to understand what was happening and piece together the timeline. Hence, I couldn’t connect with the characters or feel for them. That was unfortunate, because it would have made much more of an impact on me.

Morrison’s writing is very different than what I’m used to, and the way she spoke about and crafted the situations was something to get used to. That also played a part in the book not being a good read for me.

One thing that quite irritated me was the point of view shown. Some chapters are in first person point of view of a supporting character, not the main one. But most of the book is in third person point of view. The random switching, without sense, was off-putting.

Every chapter in the book had something to show, by itself. I really liked that. Because even if I managed to read just one chapter a day, I’m still getting some meaning out of it.

As The Bluest Eye deals with heavy issues, it’s not an easy book. Morrison doesn’t describe things very graphically, but it’s enough that it makes a lasting impression on you. This played a part in me reading the book very slowly.

Overall

Honestly, I’m not too sure about whether I liked this book or not. I would have liked it a lot more if the chapters weren’t jumbled up. But because of that, I simply could not get lost into the book and was confused for a lot of time.

I will be picking up at least another book by Morrison, though. I want to know why this author is so popular and I don’t think The Bluest Eye did justice.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for a light read. Pick this one up only if you have the time to devote to reading it. It’s a slow but meaningful read.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

Have you read Toni Morrison’s books? Or, are they on your list?

top ten tuesday header image

Ten Most Recent Additions To My Bookshelf

Hey everyone!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a list about books and we’re overdue for one. And today’s topic is exciting!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt has come in the right time because there have been quite a few additions to my bookshelf recently, and I can’t wait to talk about all of them.

I’m listing my physical additions first and then the ones on my Kindle!

[1] Release by Patrick Ness

I met up with my Bangalore Book Club on Sunday and Sukhaja from Bookish Bulletin* was SO KIND to giveaway** the books that she doesn’t have space for anymore. It went off almost like an auction, with first dibs called on the Whatsapp group.

I managed to nab this book and I’m so happy to finally own a Patrick Ness! I’ve been wanting to read his work for a long time and this will finally push me to it.

*check out her YouTube channel as she has some really good book recs on it!
**P.S. I gave away a couple books as well, so my bookshelf is still kinda balanced haha.

[2] Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma

I went to my favourite bookstore with the other Book Club members and sold back two* of my books for store credit. Of course I had to get new books, and I wanted to go for some new books that I haven’t heard of before.

Stories We Never Tell caught my eye as I was just going around in the bookstore, and the tagline “the most popular female author of India” caught my eye. With the South Asian Reading Challenge going on, I’m definitely trying to read more books by Indian authors and this looked perfect to try.

I will let y’all know how it is once I’m done!

*yes 4 books disappeared from my shelf in total! I like how I’m managing to keep my number of books constant haha.

The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf - books in picture: Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma, The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Release by Patrick Ness

[3] The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I actually also own Americanah by the same author, which was an old Book of the Month picked by the club but one that I haven’t gotten to yet. I am intrigued by the popularity of Adichie’s works though and definitely will read more. I hadn’t heard of The Thing Around Your Neck before but many fellow book club members have and loved it, so of course I got it.

It’s a pretty thin book so I do think I’ll pick it up sooner, especially since it’s also a collection of short stories.

[4] Six of Crows Collector’s Edition by Leigh Bardugo

I already spoke about this in my life update but if you haven’t read that yet, my awesome-sauce friends gifted me this GORGEOUS edition after seeing it on my wishlist. I was so shocked when I saw it and my reaction is recorded on video for proof. It’s the most beautiful book I own at the moment.

six of crows collector's edition

[5] Circe by Madeline Miller

Another birthday gift that I received, this one from my book club, was Circe. It is a book that most of the members have either read or want to read, so I trust where they’re coming from and am super excited to read it.

Also, doesn’t hurt that this book is gorgeous too haha. I can’t resist pretty books.

circe by madeline miller

[6] Frankly In Love by David Yoon

My book club* did a Secret Santa pool back in December, and this LOVELY book was the gift that I got from my Santa. It’s a book that was on my wishlist but one that I would always pass up for another book, so I’m super glad that my Santa got it for me. I’m definitely going to be reading it soon when I need a YA contemporary kick.

*wow they’re being referenced a LOT today haha

Frankly in love by David Yoon

[7] The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

This book was this month’s Book of the Month pick, and I’m actually already done reading it. It came at the right time since Toni Morrison is rising in popularity and I’ve become intrigued by her works as well.

As I read this book, I was confused by the timeline and the point of the story. We kept shifting focus on characters, and some chapters are in first person while all others are in third person point of view. The author’s intention was to let us read and assemble the timeline ourselves, but it caused a disconnect between me and the characters. I couldn’t truly connect with them because I was trying to grasp the story.

It is a profound story involving themes of racism, sexism, neglect, abuse, and other strong topics. I am still looking forward to read more from the author as I’ve heard her writing is not like this all the time.

[8] My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

As I am taking part in the South Asian Reading Challenge this year, I will be picking up some books for their prompts.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is the backlist book recommended by the hosts for this month’s theme “shuruat” i.e. beginning. The premise sounds interesting and while I may not be able to read it this month itself, I am excited to read it soon.

[9] Us, Again by Elle Maxwell

Recently, I’ve been reading books with strong themes—ones that require concentration and mulling over. This has made me want a light hearted book to offset them and I always turn to romance during these times.

Us, Again is a romance book that I got on impulse off my Goodreads TBR and am currently reading. I’m not enjoying it very much, as the male lead is pushy and slightly problematic, but it’s a book I’m simply reading to pass the time. So, yeah. Hopefully I like it by the end but I won’t be too disappointed if I don’t.

[10] Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

I’m pretty sure this book caught my eye either on Goodreads as someone else was reading it or through a book recommendations blog post. I’m unsure of where exactly, but it sounded really nice and I impulsively got it on my Kindle.

I’m generally quite picky about my paperback and hardback buys but I go all impulsive on ebooks haha.


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What are the most recent additions to your bookshelf? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above?

The coffee book tag — the wordy habitat

The Coffee Book Tag

It’s been a long time since I did any tag, and I’ve been itching for one haha.

I found this tag over at This Splendid Shambles and it looked really nice. Bring on the coffee vibes!

a steaming cup gif

1. Black: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.

It’s tough to get into because there are SO MANY BOOKS in the Shadowhunter world now. Not to mention, the original series is quite cringey to read if the reader has grown older. I liked it when I was 15, but really disliked it when I tried to reread at 19.

But whoever did read it and loved it, continued to love the rest of the books. All the Shadowhunter books have hardcore fans who have read every single book (including the novellas) and have as many Shadowhunter merch as they can get.

2. Peppermint mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year

Harry Potter books by JK Rowling.

Okay I never understood why but TONS of Harry Potter readalongs occur during the Winter, especially in December. I’m not a huge HP fan so I’m extra skeptical. Suddenly several people start rereading the books in December for no reason. It doesn’t make sense lol.

3. Hot chocolate: What is your favourite children’s book?

I quite like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. It’s the one children’s book I can reread even now.

It’s actually a Middle Grade book, but yeah. While the movie starring Anne Hathaway is good, it doesn’t do much justice to the book. The book has a much bigger and more interesting plot with better twists and character development.

4. Double shot of espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish

Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer.

My overall rating of the book isn’t that great because the ending ruined things, but the suspense of the book is amazing. I was gripped from start to finish and my mum laughed at me for being so out of the real world. All of Jeffrey Archer’s books are like that but this was the one I read last. My review talks more about the book in detail.

5. Starbucks: Name a book you see everywhere

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

This is, by far, the most popular classic and the most recommended one. It also has the most pretty versions because, daamn. Some of the versions look SO GOOD. I want them all.

P. S. I was going to say Harry Potter for this as well because those books haunt me everywhere, but decided to not give the same answer for two questions.

6. That hipster coffee shop: Give a book by an indie author a shutout

Penny Reid!

I absolutely LOVE Penny Reid’s books. Her book Neanderthal Seeks Human got me more excited to read the romance genre and explore it. It’s one of the few books I had read back then which had a great plot and had characters.

7. Oops! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

The hype really did me dirty for this one. Everyone was RAVING about it, that I even got a paperback instead of an ebook. I trusted the hype, and was highly disappointed. I hated it so much that I started annotating m frustration around 50 pages in. Mine is an unpopular opinion, and I don’t understand why most people love it.

8. The perfect blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying

The Selection series by Kiera Cass

I absolutely loved the first book, and liked books 2 and 3 enough. Book 4 was bad but book 5 saved the series just barely. It’s a roller coaster, but I like the series in the end. It’s my go-to when I want to reread a series.


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What would be your answers to these questions?

Thanks For The Memories || an interesting idea

thanks for the memories book cover || review

Title: Thanks for the Memories
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: General Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I’ll be honest, the only reason I got this book was because it was being sold for a really low price in a book fair. I hadn’t even heard of this book before, and the synopsis at the back gave NO CLUE to the actual story.

THE PLOT

The book starts with Joyce having a fall on the stairs and losing her baby. She has a lot of blood loss as well, which leads to her getting a blood transfusion in the hospital. She barely survives.

When she wakes up after the incident, Joyce is almost like a different person. She knows things that she never even cared about, and remembers things that she has never experienced. Suddenly, she knows about architecture and history, and speaks Latin. Which is completely bizarre.

The other protagonist of the book is Justin, a guest professor at a college in Dublin and an art and history enthusiast. He was convinced to donate blood one day, which could someone’s life.

After Joyce’s incident, she becomes way too much like Justin. She has his memories and inherited his characteristics. One can say that his blood was given to her in the transfusion, which also transferred his memories and characteristics.

Throughout the book, we follow Joyce and Justin as they go on with their lives which somehow interleaves and changes everything.

MY REVIEW

First of all, a very interesting idea. It’s the thought that if something directly from a person’s heart is transferred to another person, it could transfer memories and characteristics as well.

The problem with this idea, which showed in the book, was a lack of plot around it. We just follow Joyce and Justin. There’s no great plot-line except this idea. Which kind of made it boring, and easy to skim. I read this book in a day because it was easy to read fast because there wasn’t very much substance in every line.

I liked following Joyce’s journey after losing the baby which signals the end of her marriage. She moves back in with her widowed father and they learn to share space after so long. Their bond was pure, and although it had it’s annoyances, they support each other and have new adventures.

Justin was a fun character to read about. Simply because he’s kinda embarrassing and quirky. He has his flaws, which is seen very clearly, but his story was fun to read. He is a divorced man who moved to London to be closer to his teenage daughter, and travels to Dublin regularly for guest lectures. It’s hard for him to adjust to this new life after leaving behind a great life in America, but he does it for his daughter.

Now, the point that I really want to talk about. The ending. The ending was disappointing. After all that chase and adventures, the last bit felt rushed and quite out of place. The falling in love part did NOT make sense. Joyce and Justin didn’t even really know each other. And considering that they share a lot of characteristics now, it’s quite weird.

I did not like the ending, but I guess the author didn’t know how to end the book since it doesn’t actually have a plot. It makes sense why she chose to do this but… eh.

OVERALL

It was an okay read. I wasn’t very invested in it, and it was more of a pass-the-time read. I’m glad that I didn’t go in with expectations.

This book had been sitting on my shelf for almost a year so it’s good that I finally got to it and read it. Even though it wasn’t in my TBR, it’s part of my #StartOnYourShelfathon to finish the books I currently own first before buying new ones and reading them.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

Have you read books by Cecelia Ahern? What’s your opinion on this idea that blood transfusion could transfer characteristics?

Becoming || inspires hope for change

becoming book cover

Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Genre: Autobiography

Goodreads

Becoming, since it’s release, has been praised to the stars by just about everyone. All the readers I follow posted about it, and it was my book club’s pick sometime last year. I didn’t have the time to read it then, though. I finally picked up the book in November, but did not have the time or patience for a non-fiction.

In order to motivate myself to finish it this year, I chose Becoming as the book for a prompt in the Popsugar Reading Challenge and also included it in #StartOnYouRShelfathon. And it worked! I finished the book as my second read of the year. We’re off to a good start.

MY REVIEW

Once I was actually in the mood to read this book, which was so a few days back, I couldn’t stop reading it. Although it’s an autobiography, Michelle Obama’s life has been very interesting that it almost feels as if I’m reading fiction. She has written her story so beautifully, showing how she was brought up and what made her into who she is today.

Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.

Becoming is a brilliant book that sends a message of hope, change, and power in resilience. It was inspiring and motivating.

How Michelle Obama was portrayed in the media is such a contrast to how she is in the book. She, along with her husband and family, are humanized and broken down to the small quirks that makes them. She speaks about her struggles, her fears, and her weakness plainly. There was no hiding, but instead she owned every part of her story.

In my opinion, a major reason that this book resonates with people across the world is how Michelle openly talks about her struggles which many others are going through as well. She talks about the struggles of being a woman, being Black in a predominantly White country, being a woman in male-dominated field, being a working mother, and being the wife to a politician.

Confidence, I’d learned then, sometimes needs to be called from within. I’ve repeated the same words to myself many times now, through many climbs.

Am I good enough? Yes I am.

It was wonderful to read her thoughts and feelings on everything, especially the negative ones. In the end, she overcame all of that and stood strong. Michelle Obama learned how to adapt and use her resources to help other people. She recognizes all her privileges, from the people in her life to the power she has, and works to make changes in the US.

Through Michelle Obama, we also get insight into Barack Obama as more than the former US President. We see him as a passionate person, a fact-guy, as a husband, and as a father. It was interesting to see their relationship from the start and the issues they went through as he climbed the political ladder.

The choice, as he saw it, was this: You give up or you work for change. “What’s better for us?” Barack called to the people gathered in the room. “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”

I was most curious to read about the Obama family’s time in the White House and I was not disappointed. A major portion of the book took place during those 8 years, and Michelle spoke about everything. We read about the staff, the rooms, and multiple small quirks of living there. Their life changed drastically the day Barack Obama became the President-Elect, and Michelle showed the overwhelming changes in the book.

Being the First Lady is very much different to being the President. The role doesn’t have all the hard power of the President, nor does it give the platform to talk about the same issues. But being First Lady does give power due to the image. Reading about Michelle Obama’s journey in the role was intriguing and inspiring.

A First Lady’s power is a curious thing—as soft and undefined as the role itself. And yet I was learning to harness it.

One thing that Michelle Obama counted on for several years was the support from her girl friends. The power of female friendships is not spoken about much, in fiction or non-fiction, and it was really nice to see Michelle talk about it multiple times.

OVERALL

I should stop talking because there is SO MUCH in the book that I loved and several more quotes that I want to add. I can probably talk for an hour about this book.

But all I’ll say is, read this book if you haven’t yet. It’s a wonderful and inspiring story that drives home one thing: you are worth it, you can make changes in this world as well.

There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.

Michelle Obama

I rate this book..

5/5 stars

Have you read Becoming? Do you have favourite quotes from the book?

blogmas 2019 header image

2020 Reading Challenges and Readathons I'm participating in

2020 is right around the corner and I am excited.

The upcoming year is the start to a new decade and the start to tons of new life experiences and opportunities. Everyone is abuzz with hopes and huge bucket lists and ambitious plans.

Going into 2020, I’m obviously going to keep up with my reading and am planning on making my reading a little bit more fun. Over the past month, I’ve seen SO MANY announcements for 2020 year-long readathons and reading challenges. It’s overwhelming to decide from several amazing options, but I’ve managed to decide on a few of them.

Now, I generally don’t participate in year-long reading challenges because I tend to forget about them. But this time, there are groups for these ones and friends from my bookstagram club are joining in as well. Hopefully, this will help me not forget and actually finish these challenges.

an open book

Totally, I’m participating in 5(!!!!) reading challenges this year.

[1] Goodreads Reading Challenge

This is a staple for me every year. I’ve been participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2015 and it’s a great way to track your reading.

How this works: it’s a very flexible challenge because the goal is set by you. The goal is the number of books you want to read next year, and using Goodreads* helps track your reading. All the math about whether you’re behind or ahead in your reading is done by Goodreads to help you keep track of your status.

My goal is 150 books, the same as 2019. Usually I stay ahead of my goal and manage to surpass it early enough but it wasn’t so this year. I barely managed to hit my goal. Because of that, I’m not increasing my goal next year. It would be nice to read more, but 150 is what I’m aiming for.

*by marking books as “read” along with the dates on the website

[2] A-Z Reading Challenge

This is another staple. I don’t consciously put effort for this every year. It’s more of an afterthought at the end of the year where I look back and see if I managed to get all the letters done. It’s just fun to look back and see how many you’ve managed to fill. This is also a very low effort challenge.

How it works: You read a book starting with every letter of the alphabet, with an exception for a few letters. See this post to know more.

me standing with my kindle

[3] South-Asian Reading Challenge 2020

Fanna @ fannatality came up with this brilliant reading challenge which aims to put more focus on South-Asian books and diversify our reading. More details about the challenge haven’t been released yet but I’m super excited to participate.

Click here to see the announcement post.

[4] #StartOnYourShelfathon

CW @ The Quiet Pond came up with this idea because she has a ton of backlist books on her physical which needed to be read last year. When she posted the idea on twitter and received a ton of positive response, she made up this AMAZING reading challenge.

To be honest, I don’t really need to be participating because my backlist books aren’t that many, but I want to just for the aesthetics and activities within this challenge. It’s very tempting.

The best part of this is that it doesn’t have prompts so I can mix it up with other reading challenges as well. Flexible challenges are my jam.

Click here to see my joining post and TBR!

me standing next to a stack of books of almost my height.

[5] 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge

I found this challenge purely by luck after it was shared in a book group that I’m in. The challenge has a total of 50 prompts (a lot, I know). I was very unsure of joining this one because of the amount of effort it will take to find books for the prompts, and the large number of prompts.

After deliberating for a whole day, I decided that I might as well give it a go. I haven’t participating in a reading challenge like this before and I really want to try. Plus, the prompts are so good and interesting! They will definitely push me out of my comfort zone and introduce some new books.

Click here to see the official post.


If I said that I’m not overwhelmed at all by the thought of taking on all of these challenges, it would be a lie. But since most of them are flexible and can be mixed with other challenges, it should be doable as long as I plan my reads right.

I’ve already started planning on how to tackle the Popsugar challenge with #StartOnYourShelfathon bu choosing books that I own which fits some Popsugar prompts. I think I can do this.

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Are you participating in any challenges for 2020? Reading or otherwise?

Shortcake || slow-burn hate-to-love romance

shortcake book cover

Title: Shortcake
Author: Lucy Watson
Genre: Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I was just browsing through romance titles in my recommendations, looking for new books that I might like when I came across Shortcake. To be honest, I’ve never heard of this book or this author and I didn’t have many expectations. Still, I decided to give it a go and was pleasantly surprised.

Content warnings for the book: grief, anxiety, mild PTSD.

THE PLOT

Emelia Anderson has been the live-in care nurse for Rose for a long time. When Rose passes away, she leaves the house to her grandson Benjamin and Emelia. The family, especially Ben, believe that Emelia conned Rose into adding her in the will and this animosity causes Ben to hate Emelia. Em is shocked that Rose included her in the will and hates that her character is being judged in such a way.

As much as they want to, Ben and Emelia can’t back out as Rose’s stipulation was that they have to renovate the house together while living in it for three months. Bizarre, right? If they fail to do so, the house will go to Ben’s father, whom Ben hates.

In the three months that they reluctantly live as house mates, Ben and Emelia get to know each other and develop feelings.

MY REVIEW

First of all, this book is longer than most romance books. But it has all the content which makes every page worth it.

The slow-burn chemistry was on point. I love slow-burn romances and this was done SO WELL. Ben and Emelia hate each other from their first meeting, which leads them to argue and fight a lot. It was really interesting to see their relationship grow from that start.

The book was hilarious. Emelia is a hoot and reading from her point of view was highly entertaining. She’s awkward, clumsy and sometimes rash in her decisions and it makes for some really funny scenes. The book made me laugh out loud and giggle multiple times, to the point that my mum was amused just watching me read.

Emelia has had a traumatic experience in the past, which has led to her developing anxiety. I really like how her anxiety was shown and her how she still makes the best of her life. It wasn’t a huge part of plot, her anxiety and milk PTSD were present and represented well.

The one thing that did disappoint me was the ending. The ending felt very rushed and messy. After the build-up of almost the whole book, the last part wasn’t very satisfying and felt off-paced.

OVERALL

A really nice romance read. I read the entire book in one sitting because it was too good to pause reading.

Would recommend: for hate-to-love and slow-burn romance lovers. Also if you’re looking for a very fun romantic comedy.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Do you like hate-to-love romances? What’s your favourite romance trope?

thoughts on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media streams that are currently in use, and it comes with new advantages and challenges.

The social media app has been around for a long time now, and its STILL rapidly growing. More and more people are registering for it everyday, and there are TONNES of accounts and account types to look through and stalk.

But.

Let’s be honest, right now, Instagram is a hot mess.

person using Instagram on their phone

One one hand, the app is doing SO WELL. Cases in point:

  • The multiple communities formed. We have the study community, the bullet journal community, the book community, the aesthetic accounts, the meme accounts, and so many more categories. Whatever you’re looking for is available in large numbers.
  • Instagram trends. There are new trends everyday and there are different trends in every community. It brings people back to the app to see what’s new and trending so that everyone can keep themselves up to date.
  • Stories. When they first introduced stories, we were all really skeptic, but stories have actually taken off! In fact, more people look at and engage with stories than they do with normal posts on their feed.
  • Since the entire app is based around visuals, it’s perfect for capturing attention quickly. In this super fast world where we are all racing and want to spend lesser time on everything, pictures and visuals are on the top of the game. Because of this, businesses and consumers both highly benefit from this app.
  • It’s provided a perfect platform for photographers and artists to showcase their work. It has also encouraged more people to get into photography and try new and unique styles.

There are many more points which I’m not mentioning, but these are enough to showcase just how successful this app has been. But on the other hand, Instagram does have it’s flaws. Cases in point:

  • It can become toxic. If you’re on Instagram to personally follow the lives of friends and acquaintances, the app has a huge hold over your mental health. The talk about Instagram being a “filter” and only showing the good sides has been around for a long time so I won’t bother explaining that.
  • It sucks your time like a black hole. Because it’s so easy to consume content in very short amounts of time, you tend to spend more time on the app. I know many people who spend HOURS of their time just scrolling on Instagram. While its good to consume content, it’s not as useful unless it helps you in any way. If you’re an influencer, or work in a graphics/visual-related career, understanding the trends on Instagram is required. But otherwise, it’s A HUGE WASTE OF TIME.
  • Some of the updates on Instagram are complete trash. As Instagram adds more and more features, the usability of the app is degrading. I’m not sure if this is just me, but I find that I much prefer lesser options to click and swipe through than the number of options available on the app right now. There are too many buttons, swipes and taps now, which makes the usability flow messy.
  • Let’s not even talk about the algorithm which makes it hard for influencers. We’ll be here all day with that.
  • Also, the app is currently a NIGHTMARE for people using accessibility tools. And it’s definitely a challenge for creators of accessibility tools.

Everything in this world has pros and cons, and obviously Instagram can’t be free of that. But I would like to point out one thing. Instagram today is wildly different than the vision it started out with. Remember Instagram when it first caught wind? It was all about people sharing their lives through pictures, and text NOT being the focal point. At that time, every social media platform we used centered around text so this was very new and exciting. The app was simple to use, had very few user actions which ensured that our attention was on the pictures on our feeds, and was cohesive. The explore page was just that, used to simply explore new accounts and content which we might like.

Today’s Instagram does not feel cohesive. Sure, they’re incorporating multiple elements related to visuals but does it actually feel cohesive? We have the main feed, then we have the stories, then there’s IGTV. These three things itself are entirely separate sections with accompanying extra features of their own. Our explore pages don’t feel appealing anymore because of the IGTV videos included in and the options on top for various genres.

The main drawback is that we spend minimal time looking at our feeds. Ever since stories arrived, we keep going through them instead of the content on our feeds. Because tapping to go to next story is easier than swiping and double tapping etc. We users are lazy and it’s shifted the entire dynamic of the app’s usage.

Speaking of the changed app usage dynamic, can I just rant about the 101 things on screen? Right as we open the app, we have multiple things popping up and fighting to grab our attention. The short attention span of users is fully exploited by constantly changing where our attention is pulled.

For example, the latest Instagram update which puts a red dot next to your account name to indicate new notifications in ANY of your accounts. So there’s a red dot that’s constantly pinging my attention to tell me that there are outstanding notifications in some account of mine. This may seem good, but it’s not for people like me who can’t ignore notifications. I can’t leave messages unread or notifications unseen. I can’t ignore them, and usually clear them all off as soon as I can.

If you’re thinking “why not just clear the notifications so the red dot will disappear?”, it’s not possible with a larger account. One of my accounts receives notifications CONSTANTLY and I have blocked notifications from the app because of that. Since I blocked them, notifications from that account don’t bother me unless I open that specific account. With this new update, those notifications cause the red dot to be persistent in every account which drives me nuts.

Another update which I’m on the fence about is the categorizing of accounts you follow. It’s great to know whom you’re interacting with less, so that you can correct it, but I’m not happy that it takes me so many taps to get to that point. That function is BURIED somewhere under several other things.

There are users who are good with all the distraction and multiple things on screen, but there are users like me who like our screen and usage to be simple. With every Instagram update, the UI feels more messy, which discourages me from using the app. Instagram is repelling me at this point. In fact, my daily average is 30 minutes with all three of my accounts. I spend minimal time using the app because just looking at it’s screen drains my energy.

I am not an avid user of the app, and would open another app if I can. Aesthetics are available on Pinterest as well, and trends are much better seen on Twitter. My Instagram usage has been declining over the past few months, and it has hit a low this month because of blogmas taking up my time. And this has made me realize that I don’t particularly like the app. I don’t miss it, and there is nothing I’m missing out on by not using it.

Bookstagram is a wonderful place with all the book aesthetics to make my heart warm, and I really like taking and posting my own pictures. But this time away has shown me that it’s not that great. I’ve been irregular in posting and viewing for the last month and I feel nothing. There’s a picture in my camera roll ready to be posted from two weeks but I don’t have any urgency to post and be regular on bookstagram. It’s quite liberating, I won’t lie. And now I’m actually considering deleting my bookstagram account.

It’s just a thought so far, and there are pros and cons to it as well. I like that all the bookish content is separated from personal content (which is on another account). And I don’t want to mix it up. So right now, I’m thinking I’ll keep the account but only use it when I really feel like it. While it means irregular posts from it, this also does mean that whatever I post will truly be something I want to share. There won’t be any posts just because I’m forced to stay consistent.

The same goes for the entire app, to be honest. From now on, I’ve decided to not feel any responsibility towards my accounts and only do what I feel like, even if it means not opening the app for days at end. There will be new photos only if I really feel like taking them. Although I might use stories regularly, but they will also be less, as they have been this past month.

Wow this post is nearing 1.5k words so I will stop. If you’ve stuck through with me this far, thanks for lending me your precious time!

What are your thoughts on Instagram? Are you on board with all the new updates?

if we were having tea header image

if we were having tea… // 21-12-2019

Hello!

I’ve been running ragged concentrating on studying for my finals in the last few days, and I really felt like having a casual chat, so here we are with some tea again!*

*I’m actually having tea while writing this so it’s the perfect feel.

a steaming cup of tea gif

If we were having tea… I’d first comment on how it’s been quite a while since we last met up with tea. That was back when blogmas had just begun and I was worried about making it to the end. It’s now the 21st and I’m almost at the end! This has been a really good run and while I really liked doing blogmas, I miss taking my time with posts.

If we were having tea… I’d give you an update on my health. The last time we had tea I was sick and worried that it would escalate, but it thankfully didn’t! I took meds right on time and am now well enough.

If we were having tea… you might ask me about my finals. As of now, two of my theory exams have ended. (Yes, only two out of five) But the second subject which I had on 19th was the subject I was very worried about, and it went much better than expected. It feels like a huge load off my shoulders to have that subject done with.

If we were having tea… I would comment on how lofi mixes really help me when studying. Every time finals come around, I find a new support system to help me study. In the previous years, it has been the pomodoro method, the Forest app, study with me videos on YouTube, and my own playlists. This time, I found lofi mixes and they’re really helping me keep my concentration. There are some really good mixes on YouTube and just playing them gets me into the mood for studying.

If we were having tea… I would brag that I hit my Goodreads reading goal of the year! I finished my 150th book of the year a couple days back and Goodreads congratulated me with confetti on my screen. It was a really nice feeling. This is the first year that I’ve cut it so close to the end. Usually I finish my goal at least a month in advance, and then I increase my goal a little. But this time, my original goal itself took a long time. Phew.

If we were having tea… you would hear about my latest read which is Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. I’ve read a couple books by the author before but this book is probably the popular in the book world. So many people have read it and raved about it. I finally started reading it yesterday, and I’m enjoying it so far.

If we were having tea… I’d tell you that I’m participating on 3 extra readathons next year. Back when I tried to do one in 2017, I forgot about it half-way through the year. But this time, I have groups and friends online who are doing it with me so I’m hoping they’ll keep me in check and motivate me to complete the challenges and readathons. Yesterday’s blog post was the joining post for one of them. I’ll make a blog post talking about all the ones I’m doing next year in one place, so keep an eye out for that!

If we were having tea… I’d tell you that I cannot wait for exams to end. I have so many half-baked plans in my head, and I want to do them all. The first thing on my agenda is to visit a coffee shop nearby which has some special Christmas coffee flavours right now, and I want to try them before they’re gone forever. I might just go for it before exams end, because I’m not sure they’ll still be available in Jan.

If we were having tea… you would hear me talk about how life is SO BORING during finals. I can’t properly enjoy anything without the guilt that I’m not studying, so I don’t go out anywhere. And our finals last for two weeks which is ANNOYING. I take mini vacations of half days or one day between exams to enjoy without guilt. And then, it’s back. Ugh. Even as I’m having tea with you now, 20% of my mind in the background is saying that I should be studying. I hate that our finals go on for so long. But, this is the last semester it’ll be this long. Next semester, which is my last in college, has only 3 subjects so it should be shorter. Let’s hope.


And now, I need to say goodbye because my guilt about not studying is weighing on me heavily. Need to get back to my Machine Learning notes. See you next time!

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If we were having tea together, what would you say to me?