I want to start this off by saying that I have never been a fan of audiobooks. In the past, I would even have gone as far as to say that listening to an audiobook isn’t reading. But oh how wrong I was.
At the start of June, I challenged myself to read more books. I usually read a chapter or two a day of a book and I just found that I’d never be able to read all the books on my ever-growing tbr list if I didn’t read quicker.
Instead of this sending me into a downward spiral that would lead to a reading slump, I headed over to my good friend, Google and looking into how I could read quicker but still enjoy what I was reading and still be able to actually understand what was happening in the books that I was reading.
Google had plenty of ideas and I won’t go diving into all of them in this post but I did want to talk about something that I tried… audiobooks.
I’ve become obsessed with books again. I want to read all of the time and all I think about is books. Obviously, that will be reflected here on my blog.
This post is the first of a series that you may see popping up every couple of months on this blog. I can’t know how often I will be posting my mini reviews as it depends on how much I’ve been reading. However, I’ll share my mini book reviews whenever I’ve read enough to make a decent post.
Now, onto the mini book reviews…
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
I’ve never been a huge fan of self-help books but I figured I’d listen to this audiobook. Maybe it’s just that self-help books aren’t for me or maybe this book just sucks, I really don’t know. But anyway, if you want to hear a privileged white man telling you something that you probably already know, then you might like this book.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
This book made me feel every emotion that you could wish for a book to make you feel. I completely fell in love with the story and it made me see the beauty in life again. Anne of Green Gables makes me want to walk through nature, take in the beauty and laugh with a friend. Such a beautiful book.
Summer is nearly here and I’m actually dreading it. I really don’t do well in the heat.
One of the things that I am looking forward to though, is sitting in the shade with a book in my hand. Reading outside just feels so much nicer than reading indoors.
I plan on reading a lot this summer so I figured that it would be a fun idea to share some of the books that are on my Summer tbr…
A Tangled Summer by Caroline Kington
‘In the West Country village of Summerstoke, the family at Marsh Farm are too preoccupied with living their lives to notice the farm sliding into ruin. Charlie Tucker, dreaming of victory in a motocross race and flirting with the local barmaid, is unaware of the danger the farm is in; while little sister Alison, busy with her A levels, is determined to dispense with her virginity before the end of the summer and falls for the enigmatic biker, Al. Their brother Stephen is hopelessly in love with the star of the local Am-Dram society, while mother Jenny dreams of escaping to Weston-Super-Mare in the arms of the local vet. Fed up with watching her family squander their birthright, septuagenarian grandmother Elsie – the only Tucker with a lover – issues an ultimatum: either her grandsons find brides by the end of the year, or they lose their share of the farm. And that’s only half the problem… Up on the hill in Summerstoke House, the land-grabbing, unscrupulous, Hugh and Veronica -call-me-Vee Lester watch the demise of Marsh Farm with undisguised pleasure. If they can get the Tuckers turfed off the land, their dreams of owning a bigger stud farm will become a reality; and if they can help hasten the demise of Marsh Farm with a few schemes of their own… And at Summerstoke Manor, in the heart of the village, live the three elderly Miss Merfields and their ancient nanny with nothing better to do than pull strings and watch.’
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
‘Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of “buccaneers and buried gold”. First published as a book on 14 November 1883 by Cassell & Co., it was originally serialized in the children’s magazine Young Folks between 1881 and 1882 under the title Treasure Island or, the mutiny of the Hispaniola with Stevenson adopting the pseudonym Captain George North. An old sailor, calling himself “the captain” – real name “Billy” Bones – comes to lodge at the Admiral Benbow Inn on the west English coast during the mid-1700s, paying the innkeeper’s son, Jim Hawkins, a few pennies to keep a lookout for a one-legged “seafaring man.’
My reading journey has been a little bit of a rollercoaster. Up until I was about 14 years old, I refused to read for fun. I read when school made me but that was it.
I had a friend who loved reading. She would read what I referred to as ‘adult books’. And no, I don’t mean anything sexual as you’re probably thinking. I meant that she would read books that we targeted towards adults. None of the YA fiction or middle grade stories. I was amazed by her reading skills. She read out loud with so much speed but could still understand what was happening in the book. It shocked me and I was a little jealous. I wanted to love books like she did but I just couldn’t make myself.
One day, another friend of mine asked if I wanted to borrow one of her books. She liked reading but she read more young adult fiction than my other friend. The book she offered to lend me was Airhead by Meg Cabot. I reluctantly took it from her and started to read. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I did and after reading it, I had caught the reading bug.
Since then, I have been in and out of reading slumps. Sometimes I’m only in a slump for a few weeks but other times, it can be months. I thought that the months that I wasn’t reading were terrible. I knew that I had great books sitting on my shelf that I wanted to read but I couldn’t force myself. If only I knew that I would end up in the worst reading slump ever and those months were nothing in comparison.
‘Wrapped in real family history and set amongst the natural beauty of the Irish countryside, Roots is a classic romantic-comedy adventure and a page-turning account of a young woman finding herself. On a journey to the old world ― she discovered a whole new world. After a messy year of heartbreak and setbacks, Tara sets off to Ireland in search of clues to her family’s ancestry, but what she found wasn’t at all what she expected. Some of it has to do with the lack of records, but a lot has to do with John, the charming cartoonist she met on Twitter.’
I stumbled upon this book when scrolling through Prime Reads on Amazon. Graphic novels are one of my favourite things to read and this one seemed pretty simple and cute so I decided to give it a go.
I really do have a love-hate relationship with reading. I spent most of 2019 and 2020 in a huge reading slump that made me think I would never enjoy reading again. Luckily, one day at the start of December 2020, I felt in the mood to read a little bit before going to sleep one night.
I’m so grateful that my past self decided to try reading again. I managed to finish that book I had started by reading a little bit each night before going to sleep. I’m now reading my way through a second book and I am loving it.
Since I’m feeling the reading love these days, I figured I should make a little list of books that I want to read during 2021.
I’m pretty sure everyone knows Roald Dahl at this point. You have probably even come across some of his work whether it was by reading his books or just walking past them in the book shops. I’m pretty sure he is most famous for writing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG, as well as other short stories and children’s books.
He definitely did leave us with some grate tales from his imagination that helped us fuel our own, but he also taught us some very important lessons about life through his work.
I consider myself to be a part-time bullet journal user. Back in 2016, I was a hardcore bullet journal enthusiast. Now that it’s 2020, my life is getting busier and I don’t have time to make every page look beautiful and Instagram-worthy. The main thing that stopped me from using my bullet journal was that I’m not super artistic. My drawings and doodles tend to be a little bit all over the place which made me worried that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to be part of the BuJo Community.
Anyway, now I have started to realise that each journal owner is unique. We don’t have to do things that way that all these professional planners do it. So, my mission from now on is to start using my bullet journal the way that I want to.
After writing my post about my life lessons, I realised that even though I have learnt a few life lessons throughout my life, there’s still more that I can improve on to make myself the best version of me that I can be.
I think it’s time that I start off a journey of becoming the best version of myself. I’m going to start by making lists of traits, habits and general things that I aspire to be. I thought what better place to share these lists than right here on my blog. By putting my thoughts into writing, it will be like taking them out of my very chaotic mind and it might even help to make me feel even more accountable. Hopefully sharing my goals and aspirations with you all will encourage me to do what I need to do to get to the places that I want to be.
I want to write more blog posts in advance so that when bloggers block hits, I have something to share with you all.
I want to make sure I keep my home, desk area and living spaces clean.
I want to stop procrastinating and get things done so I have time to relax when I need to in the evenings.
I want to stick to one journal system and actually use the journal to organise my days.
I want to start managing my monthly budgets better and start saving money.
I want to lose five stone (70lbs) before my 24th birthday (November 2020).
I want to drink more water instead of lemonade and other fizzy drinks.
I want to stop eating cake as much.
I want to try to follow exercises from YouTube.
I want to make sure that I keep on top of my personal hygiene.
I want to try looking at situations more positively instead of worrying too much.
I want to show more gratitude to the people who are in my life.
I want to cut out the toxic people in my life and make friends to replace them.
I want to practise forgiveness for others to protect my own sanity.
I want to incorporate daily meditation into my life.
I want to set boundaries that will protect my own wellbeing.
I want to start practising my drawing skills and painting more.
I want to actually learn to play my guitar instead of looking at it just sat in the corner.
I want to travel more and experience as many cultures as I can.
I want to rekindle my love for reading.
I want to start taking more photographs to capture precious life moments.
I’m hoping that now I have shared these goals with you, I’ll be able to keep up with this. It’s definitely going to be a hard journey and nothing will be accomplished overnight but it will be an interesting journey. I will probably focus on a small task per week or even longer so that I can create new habits and keep my thoughts organised.
If you lovely readers are also on a journey of self improvement, what’s on your list of things to improve on?