Unique Blogger Award | 2

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether or not you celebrate this strange little holiday with a partner, friends, or loved ones, you can always celebrate here by spreading some blogger love. Today I’m going to answer some questions as part of the Unique Blogger Award. Thanks so much to Marisa @ Marisa the Redhead for nominating me!

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them 3 questions.

Q1: What book do you want to read that has been on your TBR List forever? 

I talk about this a lot, but it needs to be said so that I’m actually motivated to read it. A Game of Thrones has been on my TBR list for FAR TOO LONG, people!

Q2: What genre do you usually stray away from and why?

Lately I’ve strayed away from books that are just romance, mostly because those plots tend to be quite predictable and straightforward. I do enjoy one every now and then, though!

Q3: If you could have dinner with three authors, who would they be? 

William Faulkner, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Willa Cather. Not only have these authors written some of my favorite books, but they’re also fascinating people in general. I can only imagine the conversations we would have!

  • YOU!!

  1. What is your favorite genre to read?
  2. What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year?
  3. What’s a surprising thing you love about blogging?

Thanks so much to Marisa for nominating me! Definitely check out her blog! ❤ And have a lovely Valentine’s Day!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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One Lovely Blog Award | 3

Recently I had the pleasant surprise of being nominated for another One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks so much to Loretta @ The Laughing Listener for nominating me!! Definitely check out Loretta’s wonderful blog if you haven’t already. Now, on with the fun facts!

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award
  • Display the banner/sticker/logo on your blog
  • Share 7 facts or things about yourself
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers that you admire and inform the nominees
  1. I am a HUGE Lord of the Rings fans. I’ve loved both the books and the movies since I was eleven or twelve and I get incredibly excited whenever I meet someone who is also an avid fan.
  2. I love stickers. I usually order them from Redbubble because they have a HUGE selection and pretty decent prices. Recently I put a bunch on my 2018 planner and I love them. 
  3. I can touch my nose with my tongue. I feel like this one doesn’t need much explanation.
  4. Grilled cheese is my go to meal. Whenever I don’t know what to eat for lunch, you can usually find me making a grilled cheese. I like mine with cheddar cheese, a little bit of ham, and sliced pickles inside (it sounds weird, but it’s so good!).
  5. I LOVE taking photos with my polaroid camera. I got this adorable yellow polaroid camera for Christmas a year or two ago and I’ve been in love with it ever since.
  6. I play the violin. I haven’t actually played it in three years (since starting college), but I played it in my school’s orchestra from third grade until I graduated high school. I definitely miss playing in an orchestra!
  7. I don’t know how to describe my taste in music. Whenever people ask me, I usually reply by saying that I like everything except for country music. My Spotify is a JUMBLED MESS.

What’s a fun fact about you? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: 2018 Bookish Resolutions

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (now brought to us by That Artsy Reader Girl) asks us to share our bookish resolutions for 2018. Now that the new year is well underway and I’ve done some reflecting on 2017, I think it’s time to set some new goals. I don’t like to put an exorbitant amount of pressure on myself to meet unrealistically high expectations, so these are ten relatively simple goals that I’d like to keep in mind throughout the next year.

1. Read 24 books. I’ve made this my Reading Challenge goal on Goodreads for the past few years now and it’s worked out really well. This is a number that I can meet without any added stress, which is precisely what I need from a yearly goal.

2. Balance reading for classes, reading for fun, and blogging. I absolutely LOVE studying abroad at Oxford, but when term is in session I miss blogging and reading for fun so much! I’m hoping I can figure out a way to balance all of these things better during my last two terms there.

The main library at Mansfield College, Oxford.

3. Be more engaged with the blogging community. This goal is one that I wish I had done better at in 2017… so I’m carrying it over into 2018! As with the previous resolution, I’m hoping that I can find a way to make this work while balancing everything else I have to do.

4. Read more nonfiction. I’ve read some really great nonfiction books recently, which makes me feel motivated to read even more of them in the new year. Any recommendations would definitely be appreciated!

5. Read A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. Now, what would a Holly resolution list be without this novel inevitably included? I vow that someday I will read this book!

6. Continue writing discussion posts regularly. This is a resolution I accomplished in 2017, but I would really love to keep it up this year as well. Creating interesting, thought-provoking content that sparks engaging discussions is something that I want to always strive towards with this blog.

7.  Keep better track of the books I want to read. More often than not I forget to write a book title down when someone recommends it to me, leaving me without a list of books I want to read whenever I go into a bookstore or decide to order books online. Putting them on a list in my phone or something similar would be so helpful!

8. Be more creative with my bookstagram posts. I love taking photos and updating my bookstagram, but in the midst of writing pages and pages of essays it’s easy to revert back to posting the same kinds of photos every single time. This year I’d like to be more creative with my books, props, scenery, etc.

9. Be more open to talking about this blog IRL. I rarely ever mention my blog to people unless they bring it up first, and even when they do I’m pretty hesitant to talk about it (as I’ve discussed in this post from a while back). In 2018, I’d like to be more open about talking about my blog if people bring it up.

10. HAVE FUN!! As always– what’s reading without a little (or a lot!!) of fun?

Happy New Year, everyone!!

What are your resolutions for 2018? What do you think of mine? Any advice on how to accomplish them? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

What does it mean to be a “relevant” reader? | Discussion

Today I’d like to talk about a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: What does it mean to be a “relevant” reader?

Recently I watched a video by Ariel Bissett in which she talks about the pressure in the online book community to read certain books as soon as possible to be “relevant.” She emphasizes this stress particularly in the YA genre with popular new releases at the time such as When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Ariel discusses how before joining Booktube she didn’t have this large awareness of what was recently released, current trends and topics in specific genres, book “hype, etc. While this can certainly be an advantage of being immersed in this bookish community, it also comes at a price: feeling like a bad person or that you can’t be a proper reader unless you read the books that “everyone” is currently talking about. 

Ariel emphasizes that this need to be relevant is ridiculous. As she points out, the books that are deemed “relevant” are not always the books we’re most interested in reading. Her solution is to try to not give into this competitive feeling of needing to be relevant– yet she acknowledges that this is a really difficult thing to do. How do you participate in a community that focuses on reading competitively when that isn’t what you initially signed up for? (Metaphorically speaking, of course– there aren’t any sign-up sheets to be found here…)

Shortly after watching this video I read a great blog post by Hannah @ Mortal Reader in which she discusses feeling lost in the book community when she tries to keep up with all the constant cycle of new releases being published. She explains that she often finds herself picking books to read based on what she thinks the people who read her blog will be interested in rather than simply picking up whatever book she herself would like to read in that moment. Here is yet another manifestation of the pressure many of us feel to be relevant readers when we blog, make videos, and create other bookish content online.

 I’m certainly guilty of feeding into this competitive edge of reading as well. For instance, I definitely felt pressure to read John Green’s most recent novel Turtles All the Way Down as soon as possible once it was released so I could write about it. I also really relate to something that Ariel discusses in her video: the problem of viewing rereading as not making progress towards our reading goals. I LOVE rereading books and feel no shame at all when I reread old favorites… but why is this attitude the exception rather than the rule? Why does stigma exist? Why does rereading often make people feel as though they’re not staying “relevant”?

My way to deal with this notion of “relevant” and “competitive” reading is to try my best to ignore it. You may have noticed that I love reading classics and old books, which are mainly what I talk about on this blog. Are people dying to hear my thoughts on William Faulkner or Willa Cather? Probably not. But those are the kinds of books that I love to read, so why would I read anything else? Personally, reading what I enjoy is more important to me than “staying relevant”– whatever that means.

What are your thoughts on “relevant” and “competitive” reading? Do you feel this pressure to read certain books in the online bookish community? What can we do about this? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Spreading Blogger (and Christmas!) Cheer

Recently Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff created this post in which she highlights bloggers as a way to spread blogger cheer during this festive season. Seeing as Christmas will be here before we know it (TOMORROW?!?!) I thought I would take the time to pass on Christmas cheer through a few blogger shoutouts. Here are some lovely bloggers and blogs that I’ve followed recently (and you should, too!):

Zoie @ Whisked Away by Words

Not only does Zoie have a beautiful blog, but she also leaves the most thoughtful comments. I love how she writes about travel as well as books!

Pamela @ Reverie Society

I love that Pamela’s blog is bilingual. She also writes such thought-provoking discussion posts and has a gorgeous blog design.

Loretta @ The Laughing Listener 

Loretta mostly reviews audio books, which motivates me to want to listen to more novels that way. The way she formats her reviews that makes them so easy and entertaining to read.

Marilyn @ Be Who You Want To Be

I love how much personality Marilyn’s writing has– she also has such a great taste in books! I’ve added so many titles to by TBR list since following her blog.

Georgiana @ Reader’s High Tea

Georgiana is another blogger with such ideal bookish taste. I’ve also had a great time reading through her posts on War and Peace. 

Last but not least, thanks so much to Michelle for constantly being a ray of positivity in the blogging community ❤ I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas if you celebrate!

What are you plans for Christmas Eve or Christmas in general? Have any favorite traditions? Reading any festive books? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Sunshine Blogger Award | 4

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a lovely day! To brighten up this wintery mood I’m going to share the Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks so much to Dani @ Perspective of a Writer for nominating me!

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Who is the one person that is the sunshine in your life?

Just ONE?!?!?!? I’m going to cheat and say all of my family and friends. How can I pick just one?!?!

Do you prefer all happy movies, or occasional sad movies?

Preferably all happy movies. I’ll watch sad movies if I’m with other people who also want to watch it, but I definitely try to avoid reading sad books if I can help it.

What is the one food that always makes you happy?

PIZZA. Or oatmeal… there’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of oatmeal and raisins in the morning.

What is the sunshine on your blog?

The comments section! I love reading everyone’s comments even though I’m usually pretty slow at finding time to respond to them all. I appreciate each and every one of them ❤

What is your favorite holiday?

CHRISTMAS.

What is one thing you love about yourself?

My ability to remember song lyrics even when I haven’t listened to a song in years.

What is one thing you love about the blogging community?

I love how incredibly kind and supportive everyone is in the blogging community, especially when it comes to inclusiveness.

What is the one book that made you smile the most?

Definitely The BFG by Roald Dahl. No matter how many times I read this book it will always make me laugh!

Where is your corner of sunshine in your home?

At the moment, it’s the Christmas tree in the corner of our living room. I love when the house is decorated for Christmas!

What is your favorite color or colors?

Probably yellow and mint (or is it called turquoise/teal? It’s the color of my blog…).

What is the one movie (or drama) that always makes you happy?

Definitely Jurassic Park. It’s such a wacky story and I love the cheesy, witty banter between all of the characters.

As per usual with these kinds of posts, I’ll pass along the same questions that I answered for those that I’ve nominated. Thanks again to Dani for nominating me! Answering these questions was a blast!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

One Lovely Blog Award | 2

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’re all having a lovely November day (can you tell that this is my favorite month of the year?). Today I’m excited to share the One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks so much to Fran Laniado for nominating me!!

  1. Each nominee must THANK the person who nominated them and link their blog in the post.
  2. They must include the rules and add the blog award badge as an image.
  3. Must add 7 facts about themselves and then nominate 15 people.

  1. I’m currently studying abroad for a year at Mansfield College at Oxford University.
  2. Jaffa cakes are my new favorite snack. You can only get them here (or in specialty stores in the States) so I’m going to have to stock up before I go back home!
  3. I start listening to Christmas music ridiculously early every year (it’s fair game as long as Halloween is over!).
  4. I LOVE taking polaroid photos.
  5. I saw Rent (the movie based on the musical) for the first time a few weeks ago and have been listening to the soundtrack while writing essays ever since.
  6. I refuse to get a bike here even though it’s clearly the easiest and quickest way to get around. Cycling alongside all of those cars and big buses looks so terrifying!
  7. I miss tap dancing at my college back in the States immensely. I brought my shoes to England, but sadly there isn’t a tap dancing group here.

  1. Sarah @ Written Word Worlds
  2. RAIN @ The Withering 
  3. Carly @ The Hungry Little Bookworm 
  4. Anatomy of a Book Thief 
  5. Lucinda @ Lucinda is reading… 
  6. Alice @ Ink Fingerprints
  7. Lauren @ Books are Only the Beginning 
  8. Kawther @ The Villain Library
  9. Maddie @ Hedgehog Book Reviews
  10. Alison @ Hardcovers and Heroines 
  11. Abby @ Paw Print Pages
  12. Izzi @ Ravenclaw Book Club 
  13. Nada @ Early Bookish Birds
  14. Jessica @ Reading with Jessica 
  15. Morgan @ The Bookish Beagle

Thanks again to Fran for nominating me! ❤

What’s an fun fact about you? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Liebster Award | 7

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all having a lovely day! Today I’m here to share another Liebster Award. Thanks so much to Julianna @ Blots of Ink and Words for nominating me!! These kinds of awards are always fun because you never know what questions you might be asked to answer.

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
  • Nominate 11 blogs and let them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Give them 11 questions to answer.

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging back in high school as a way to keep a record of my thoughts on what I read. I had no idea that there was such a wonderful book blogging community!

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

Definitely the people I’ve met and the great conversations I’ve had. There are so many lovely bookworms!

What causes you the most pain (bookish related)?

When people judge others for reading what they love to read.

What are the main reasons you’ll follow a blog?

An enthusiastic, kind blogger who writes creative content and engages in the blogging community.

What type of book covers do you like the most?

Simple ones! I adore beautiful typography or white backgrounds with pops of color. This explains my absolute love for the cover of George Watsky’s How to Ruin Everything. 

What’s your favorite genre of books and why?

I love classic literature because it makes me feel connected to so many people, places, and points in history.

Why did you start reading?

I was lucky enough to have parents, teachers, and other adults in my life when I was a kid who instilled a love of reading in me from a young age. I have vivid memories of my parents reading certain books to me before bed and me sitting on the floor of my third-grade classroom as my teacher read us books like Bridge to Terabithia and Pictures of Hollis Woods. I’ll be forever grateful for them!

What happened if someone walked up to you and tried to fight you?

I would turn and run.

What would your “happy place” include?

A mountaintop with clear blue skies and an amazing view for miles around.

What would you do if you were stranded on an island?

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t last long. In fact, I would probably just think about the TV show Lost for a while.

What makes you bored?

Math. Physics. Driving in traffic.

YOU!!

I know I’m supposed to create my own list of questions, but I’m going to cheat a little and pass on the questions that Julianna asked me. They were so much fun to answer! (Can you tell I’m being buried alive by course work right now due to my lack of blogging time?)

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Awesome Blogger Award

I hope you’re all having a lovely day! Today I’m here with the Awesome Blogger Award, which is described as:

This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.

Thanks so much to Amber @ The Literary Phoenix for nominating me!!

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Include the reason behind the award.
3. Include the banner in your post.
4. Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
5. Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
6. Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers.
7. Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer.
8. Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated.

1. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Granola! I’ve been eating the same homemade granola for YEARS. Somehow I never get tired of eating it.

2. What summer plans do you have (or have already done)?

I spent most of my summer reading in preparation for Oxford, working, and spending time with friends and family.

3. If you could pick ANY career and get into it 100% no questions asked, what would you do?

Realistically, I would be an English professor at a university; however, my secret dream has always been to be a professional dancer (even though I CANNOT dance).

4. On an average day – what’s your beauty routine?

Wash my face, brush my hair, and put on some eyeliner if I have time. Done.

5. What color pen do you prefer to use?

The more color the better! (Especially purple.) But I usually just end up using black pens because the ink is easier to read.

6. Do you or have you ever kept a personal journal or diary?

New journal who dis 🖊

A post shared by HOLLY (@nutfreenerd) on

Yes!  I’ve kept a journal on and off ever since I was younger. This is a photo of my current journal. As you can tell, I’m a fan of stickers!

7. Who inspires you?

SO MANY people! First and foremost, my parents.

8. Describe your perfect date.

My perfect date would involve books, hiking, or visiting a place I’ve never been before.

9. What is your go-to order at a restaurant?

Usually whatever I ordered the last time I was there. I tend to order the same things whenever I go to the same restaurants. Pizza is always by default, though.

10. If you had to wear either a cape or an eyepatch for a month but couldn’t tell anybody why, which would you choose?

An eyepatch. I feel like people would just assume that I got hurt somehow and need to wear it for medical reasons…. the cape is a little more difficult to explain!

YOU!! (Yes, my course work has reduced me to this level of lazy.)

  1. What’s at the top of your bucket list?
  2. What’s your favorite podcast?
  3. Do you have any pets?
  4. What was your favorite game to play when you were a kid?
  5. What was the last restaurant you went to?
  6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
  7. What’s your favorite musical artist/band?
  8. What TV series did you most recently finish?
  9. What book would you recommend to EVERYONE?
  10. Do you prefer dark, milk, or white chocolate?

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Unique Blogger Award

Sometimes little surprises can completely make your day. Every time I’m tagged or nominated in posts like this Unique Blogger Award it reminds me of the loveliness of the bookish blogging community. Thanks so much to Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts for nominating me!!

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

What is your favorite Disney film and character (they don’t have to be from the same thing)? Why?

I have so many Disney favorites, but my most recent one is Rapunzel and Tangled in general. I love the songs, the humor, the story, THE LANTERNS– everything!

How do you handle your TBR list when it gets out of control?

Usually by piling more books on top of it *hides in shame.* In actuality, when I notice that my TBR is getting a little out of control (on my Goodreads shelf, for instance) I’ll go through it and weed out books that I’m not really interested in readying anymore. Sometimes I don’t even remember why I added a book to my TBR in the first place!

What is your favorite type of post to blog about?

I love writing fun discussion posts for several reasons: a) they’re a blast to write, b) they spark awesome conversations in the comments section, and c) they help me look at other perspectives on a topic and see arguments from different angles.

  1. Do you have a favorite book genre?
  2. How do you feel about what is considered to be “classic” literature?
  3. What has been your favorite experience blogging so far?

Thanks again to Jenna for nominating me! What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY