September to March of this past year has been tough for me. I can't give you a thousand concrete reasons for why that was, since it's sort of like that pop song which claims that you're lost without knowing that you are. You might have noticed some of the effects: I stopped posting as frequently and I stopped commenting on your blogs. I pride myself on those comments, on making them long and like we're in conversation as much as possible, but when you're trying to hold onto yourself, there's not much you can give to others in return without feeling, somehow, worse than before, like you don't have enough to give. In fact the only reason I had kept up with my blog was because my thought process was something like this: I will not lose this too. I made it to three years. I celebrated. I've learned so much from having this blog -- I've read so much more, I've met great friends, I've discovered a lot about publishing and the workings of the YA community -- and I'm grateful for every minute of it. But from March to now, I've been pondering about this blog and where I will take it from here.
I had a lot of great ideas. New features, new posts, lots of things. I remember back in December, when I'd first finished The Winner's Curse, I was like: "yeah, I'm so going to contact Marie Rutkoski and tell her how awesome this book is, and hey, why stop at her? Why don't I contact all those 2014 and 2015 debut authors? (Because I know that I'd like to keep an eye out for what's to come). Did any of that happen? No. If I did that, blogging would be like my full time job. As it is, I've managed to read ahead a little and have a couple of reviews scheduled in advance so that I wouldn't have to worry the week of, which is exactly what I had to bookish rounds. There have been times when I've started working on them at 7:00 p.m. and am still working on them at 4:00 a.m., and I've thought: who the **** cares? Obviously the jaded thought of someone very tired, but I can't deny that that jadedness has permeated into my reality and my vision of the future. Will I have the time to continue doing this? Do I want to spend my free time working on my blog? Is this half-in, half-out approach working for me and is it doing anything for my audience?
I'm moving to the east coast next week. This has been consuming my thoughts for the past couple of months. Last minute things I want to do, people I want to see. How little I know about where I live and how I'd like to give people recommendations for things to do, but probably wouldn't be able to say a whole lot. How I don't want that to be the reality of where I'll live soon. And in terms of this blog, too: what books I'll be able to bring with me, whether I'll be able to read them all. So think of the time spent on this blog: at least eight hours on bookish rounds; two hours to write my reviews unless they're mini reviews, but those still take about an hour; maybe five to six hours to read the book that I plan on reviewing that week. That's about fifteen hours a week. SIXTY hours a month. How much of this time can I spend doing other things???? I miss talking to all of you, and sixty hours a month is without me even doing that! WHUT.
Am I quitting? NO. But am I reevaluating? YES. Something I've been considering doing is splitting the bookish rounds up by sections for each day (cover reveals on monday, etc. etc.) or doing that, but keeping it the same post, editing it each day that week, so that people can return on like Friday, and see in its entirety if they'd prefer to wait. Maybe that's the way I should've been doing it in the past but *shrug*. I have a bunch of review books, but maybe clump them in a couple of posts together and stop doing reviews after those run out because I want to read all the old books I have too.
So anyway, that's what's on my mind re: this blog and why you haven't too much of me in the past or right now. But to end this post on a positive note, let me tell you what else came up recently!
I went to the Ruin and Rising launch party with some friends. Last year I went to the Siege and Storm launch party -- and that was basically my first bookish event -- so it seemed like a good way of preparing to leave, of saying goodbye. You can read more about the details over on Instagram, and I'm really excited to eventually sit down and read Ruin and Rising (as of late, I've also not even been able to concentrate on reading o.o). I brought a ton of books with me to lend to my friends, who I'd all gotten addicted to YA :). This, I like to call, #ProjectRecommendations.
Stephanie and I had the same thesis adviser. Two summers ago, we worked together in lab as a part of a research program at our college. In between waiting on Western blots and RTPCR and all the glories of the science world lol, we would read. I brought her many, many books. Once I brought her A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and the bags under her eyes the next day! Lol, I took over the conversation with our professor, that's for sure. Stephanie doesn't tend to like literary stories as much (loved Divergent and Insurgent, but thought Fire was too slow) and often likes either the really romantic stuff or action-packed / thrilling stories. So, based on what I had and what she'd already read from me, I brought her:
- Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
- Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
- The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
- She also bought Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.
Roxy was also a neuroscience major. We were on the same freshman trip, but for some reason, it wasn't until senior year when we'd really started talking, and interestingly enough we might have the least in common of these three people but we talk the most. Roxy probably share the most similar taste. She likes things to be a little less literary than me and seems a little less forgiving of a book (she confessed to not being to finish The Distance Between Us because the MC judges rich people harshly in the beginning... I told her that was the point, that the MC would grow. Her response: Ynrghhhh. And flailing hands.). She likes romances and action-packed things, but needs them to have logical plots/worlds (favors Legend over Divergent, for instance). Therefore I brought her:
- Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
- Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
- The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen
- If I Stay by Gayle Forman
- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Leena and I must have run into each other so much as children without even knowing it (until college). She went to the school right next to my elementary school and the high school that some of my cousins attended. She went to the same khadarje (farmer's market) growing up and shares a lot of the same Middle Eastern habits/likes/dislikes. She and Roxy are huge Harry Potter fans. Like Stephanie, she seems to favor action-packed over super literary. Before I picked her up for the Ruin and Rising event, she asked me if I had anything scary and/or feel good. So I brought her:
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
- Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
- Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
- Pivot Point by Kasie West
- Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
- The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
- Miss Peregrine's House for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
HOW WILL #PROJECTRECOMMENDATIONS GO? Your guess is as good as mine, but apparently Roxy could not put down The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen (which, incidentally, Leena and I had both read and loved in high school), Leena started Fangirl and said: "muahaha, she's so awkward" re: Cath, which I'll take as a good sign, and Stephanie loved Ruin and Rising, which I'm taking credit for because I introduced them all to Shadow and Bone.
Coming soon on the blog:
-giveaway of The Fever - Megan Abbott via the publisher or lit agency
-reviews & giveaways of sampler items I received at BEA
-reviews & giveaways of the few books I've managed to read since BEA
-bookish rounds next week, when I am waiting for my furniture to arrive lol
Talk to you soon, friends!