Summer Book Tag

Summer is pretty much over, but that won’t stop me from wrapping up the season with the Summer Book Tag. Thanks so much to Mischenko @ Read, Rant, Rock & Roll for tagging me!!

What book cover makes you think of summer?

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I read this novel last summer and it is one of the most lyrical, seamless, beautifully written books I have ever read.

What book has brightened your day?

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo was one of my favorite books when I was younger. I remember reading it over and over again because a) mice used to be by favorite animals and b) this story is captivating, charming, and creative.

Find a book cover with yellow on it.

Just look at that cute little yellow chick! I read Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen a few weeks ago and loved it. I can’t even explain to you how heart-warming, poignant, hilarious, and brilliant this book is. I definitely wish I had read it sooner!

What action book had you running for the ice cream man?

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is equal parts hilarious, romantic, and action-packed. No matter what you’re in the mood to read, chances are that this book will fulfill it!

(Sunburn) What book has left you with a bad and/or painful ending?

I won’t spoil the ending in case you haven’t yet read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it’s pretty devastating.

(Sunset) what book gave you the happiest feelings when it ended? 
I desperately hoped for at least a moderately happy ending for Jane (given her circumstances) and Charlotte Brontë didn’t disappoint!

What book cover reminds you of a sunset?

Look at that literal sunset on the cover. This old edition of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton made this question easy!

What is one book or series you hope to read this summer?

I actually didn’t read any full series this summer… it was a summer of standalones, I guess!

Since summer has pretty much come to an end, I’m not going to tag anyone specifically… unless you would like to do it, then by all means GO FOR IT!

Is summer your favorite season or do you prefer autumn/winter (like me!)? What’s your favorite thing about summer? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Bookstagram Process

Happy Tuesday!! We’ve made it to the last week of TTT before the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish come back with their great themes. As a last hurrah I’m going to share something silly and fun: 10 steps of my bookstagram process.  I started my bookstagram account (@nutfreenerd) over a year ago and I’m so glad I did! Not only do I love looking at everyone’s gorgeous photos, but I also love interacting with other bookworms.

Anyone who posts bookish photos knows how ridiculous taking them can feel sometimes (especially in busy places!) but that’s also what makes it fun. Whether you’re inside, outside, or somewhere in between, one thing is certain: taking photos can definitely be a process. Here’s my bookstagram photo-taking process:

1. Choose a location.

This is a beautiful park near my house that’s my new favorite photo spot.

The first thing to do it decide where you’ll be taking pictures. Inside? Outside? Outside in your front yard or somewhere else? Lately my account’s feed alters between inside and outside pictures so I end up doing a fair amount of both locations.

2. Choose books.

SO MANY BOOKS. This step usually takes me a long time and results in a tornado of books on my bedroom floor.

3. Pack.

Can I fit my entire bookcase into a backpack from middle school? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. (And ultimately failed…)

4. Transport and set up. 

Sometimes this step is easy, particularly if I stay inside and decide to take photos using my phone. However, it can get tricky when I go to the park with my camera, tripod, and bag of books. There’s so much to lug around!

5. Choose a few different angles.

Finding new angles is one of my favorite aspects of taking photos. Just when you think you’ve exhausted them all, a new one jumps out at you!

6. Actually take the photos.

When you realize the lens cap is still on the camera *face palm*

Here it is, folks: the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Bust out those cameras and say CHEESE.

7. Take even more photos.

I’m always afraid that my camera is out of focus or the lighting isn’t good enough, so I make sure to take WAY MORE photos than I’ll ever need. Chances are that at least one of them will be decent, right?

8. Resist the urge to photograph Watsky’s book for the billionth time.

Note: This step nearly always fails.

This is a hard one– perhaps the most difficult step of them all. If you look at my account you’ll notice that How to Ruin Everything appears in SO MANY of my photos… it’s just such a beautiful cover design!!

9. Sort.

Jumping in the air looked way cooler in my mind, I promise.

Taking a million photos at a time means that there are a million photos to sort through later. Sorting is key because you inevitably end up with ridiculous photos like the one shown above.

10. Post!!!

Finally, it is time to post your photos. I love reading and replying to everyone’s comments!!

Are you part of the bookstagram community? (Let me know so I can follow you!!) What is your bookstagram process like? Do you have a favorite book to photograph? Do you follow a posting schedule? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: How to Read More

Happy Tuesday!! The bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish are taking a quick break from hosting Top Ten Tuesdays this summer, so I thought I would continue on in the meantime with some topics of my own. Recently someone asked me a question I’ve been asked a million times: How do you read so much? Usually my response is something along the lines of: “…I just do?” However, today I’m going to actually answer this question by sharing my Top Ten Ways to Read More. (Spoiler alert: the last reason is the most important!!)

1 || Carry a book with you. This is one of the most important and effective ways to read more because you simply can’t read if you don’t have a book with you. There are so many hidden pockets of reading time throughout the day, from sitting in waiting rooms and taking public transportation to lunch breaks and random bits of downtime between appointments or meetings.

2 || Listen to audio books. Though I would much rather read a paper book than listen to a recording, I must admit that audio books are a golden key to optimizing reading time. I know people who drive, cook, clean, and exercise all while listening to audio books. Just think of how many books they must go through in an average week!

3 || Designate reading time. If you’re anything like me, you thrive on structure, routines, and schedules. I find it helpful to set aside certain times for reading, such as before going to sleep or when I have a free Sunday afternoon. This doesn’t have to be a daily occurrence; rather, it could be as simple as deciding to read for an hour instead of watching Netflix on a Wednesday night after dinner.

4 || Set realistic, achievable goals. Telling yourself you’ll be able to finish the entirety of Tolstoy’s War and Peace in one night and still have time to paint your nails before bed is probably not the most realistic goal to set. (Unless you can actually do this, then by all means LET ME KNOW YOUR SECRETS.) Instead, set yourself small goals that can be achieved fairly quickly and easily. I usually like to do this by focusing on chapters or page numbers.

5 || Find a reading buddy. For those of you who work best alongside others, find someone or a group of people to read with. Book clubs are great for helping you read more: not only do they hold you accountable for reading on a regular basis, but they also spread enthusiasm and a contagious bookish excitement. A reading buddy could also just be someone you talk to about books occasionally or even a fellow blogger

6 || Take breaks. This might sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. As with any activity, it’s possible to feel burnt out after reading so much. When you feel a reading slump coming on, do yourself a favor and set the books aside for a while. Sometimes all you need is some time away from the page to recharge your bookworm batteries. Then you’ll be ready to read even more!

7 || Be aware of time and space. Where do you feel the most comfortable reading? Are you an early bird or night owl? Knowing when and where you prefer to read will only better the chances that you’ll be focused and engaged in what you’re reading when you finally curl up with a book. For instance, my favorite reading spot is outside on a sunny day or in this particular cozy chair in my living room on a cold night.

8 || Read in bed… at your own risk. I’ve always loved reading before bed, but I do admit that it’s not always the most productive reading time ever. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I get tired and head to bed early after reading only a chapter or two, sometimes I’m sitting in a position that makes taking notes awkward… This is really up to personal preference, but I’ve found that if I solely rely on time before bed to read I usually get very little reading time during the week.

9 || Get rid of distractions. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the temptation to sneak a peek at your phone, check your inbox, or even take a scroll through Tumblr in the midst of reading. There’s nothing wrong with taking breaks to do these things… unless your goal is to get more reading done! To prevent being distracted, try putting your phone on silent or at least shutting off most notifications if you’re sitting down to read for a bit.

10 || Make reading a priority. To be honest, I think this is the single most important and effective rule on this list. If reading is a priority in your life as a hobby you’re bound to do it more often. The real reason I’m able to read so much is because I want to, so I do. Some people spend their free time binge-watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix or watch streams of hilarious cat videos on Youtube, other people enjoy painting or running or dancing or playing soccer—I choose to spend the majority of my free time reading.

What are your tips for reading more? What do you think of the advice I’ve given here? Have you ever been asked how you read so much? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag | 2017

Can you believe that 2017 is already half way over??? I’m still not used to how far along we are in the twenty-first century. Every time someone mentions the 90s my first thought is “Ah, yes, that decade ten years ago.” But that is NOT THE CASE and it’s kind of scary… Anyways, thanks so much to Inside My Library Mind for tagging me in this Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017?

Must we start with the most difficult question ever??? I’ve read so many great books this year that choosing just one is really hard, so I’m going to go with two: How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky and Sartoris by William Faulkner. (Could you get two more opposite books??)

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017?

I actually don’t think I’ve read any sequels this year!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

When I heard that John Green was releasing a new book this fall I literally squealed in delight, surprise, and excitement. ANOTHER JOHN GREEN BOOK, PEOPLE. From what he’s shared about the basic premise of Turtles All the Way Down it promises to be an entertaining, thought-provoking, and story about adolescence, mental illness, and life. October can’t come soon enough!!!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I’m honestly not very up to date with new releases for the second half of 2017, so I don’t think I have an answer to this question.

5. Biggest disappointment.

How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. This was the first book I read (listened to, actually) in 2017 and I was so disappointed by it. I disagreed with many of her points and was frustrated by her tendency to focus on problems that were fairly tedious and insignificant compared with the more serious issues that some women have to deal with on a regular basis. The potential was there for this to be a great book, but in the end I just don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been.

6. Biggest surprise.

Sartoris by William Faulkner. Unexpectedly, this may be my favorite Faulkner novel that I’ve read thus far. I had never heard of it before taking a closer look at the Faulkner section of my local library because usually people stick with his most well-known texts (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, etc.). Sartoris is under-rated, under-appreciated, and certainly deserves to be read by a wider audience!

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

E.M. Forster. I read his novel A Room with a View earlier this year and was absolutely enthralled by it. Not only is his writing beautiful, but the novel was incredibly thought-provoking and captivating. I look forward to reading more of his writing!

8. Newest fictional crush.

Vincent from On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher. Not only is Vincent incredibly musically gifted, but he’s also sweet, thoughtful, loyal, caring… what more could you want? This entire book is adorable and romantic in general– I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for something really sweet, captivating, and heartwarming .

9. Newest favorite character.

Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl. I really wish I had read this book when I was younger because I think Matilda’s character would have really resonated with me. Younger Holly would have been thrilled to read about a bookworm like myself who triumphed over obstacles against all odds. Matilda is such an important character for children to read about, both as a bookish hero as well as a strong, clever, independent female character.

10. Book that made you cry.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. Though I didn’t physically cry while reading this poetry collection, I did feel emotional and sense tears welling up in my eyes at times. Rupi Kaur’s poetry is raw, honest, and beautiful. I highly recommend this collection!

11. Book that made you happy.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. I never read this book when I was a kid (are we sensing a trend here?) but I definitely wish I had because it’s SO FUN. I couldn’t help but smile all the way through this creative, hilarious, adorable book. Roald Dahl is the best! Also, now I really want to watch the movie adaptation directed by Wes Anderson. I’ve heard really great things about it!

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky. I love everything about this cover design– the color, the simple design of handwriting on a solid background, and the way it’s messy but not overwhelmingly so. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve photographed this book (although looking at my bookstagram will give you a pretty good idea). This is one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far this year, so I would highly recommend it!!

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

SO MANY. A novel I’m hoping to read by the end of the summer is Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages but for some reason I just haven’t gotten around to it.

14. Favorite Book Community Member (Blogger, Booktuber and Bookstagrammer)

Ahhh, there are so many!!! I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart ❤ For the sake of this tag, I’m going to give a shoutout to:

  • Shar & Shanti @ Virtually Read. Not only do Shar and Shanti post thought-provoking, creative content on they’re blog, but they’re also both incredibly kind individuals. They leave the most thoughtful comments that always make me happy. If you haven’t checked out their blog, definitely do so!! ❤
  • Ariel Bissett. Ariel has been my favorite booktuber for YEARS. A smile immediately lights up my face every time I see that she has posted a new video because they always manage to brighten my day. I love her bubbly, enthusiastic personality and knack for creating content that’s simultaneously thought-provoking, creative, and entertaining.
  • Resh Susan (@thebooksatchel). I love her book blog, but I especially look forward to the photos she posts on bookstagram. They’re beautifully shot and always contain the most gorgeous editions of books. ❤

How was your reading in the month of #may? Time for a #wrapup. – – 5⭐️ : The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (love the lyrical prose and choice of words) 5⭐️ : Anna Karenina by Tolstoy (loved minute observations of life in Russia & character sketches) 4.5⭐️ : The Dark Circle by Linda Grant (made me feel fortunate for medical advancements. Written in a stream of consciousness style) 4⭐️ : First Love by Gwendine Riley (imperfect lives and flawed characters told in minimal words) 4⭐️ : Lord Edgware dies by Agatha Christie (kept me on toes guessing the killer) 4⭐️ : The Muse by Jessie Burton ( moderate pace, predictable but enjoyable) 3.5⭐️ : Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (beautifully written story of a marriage between a young wife and older husband) 3.5⭐️ : Mr Tibbit's Catholic school (charming boarding school stories and nuances of headmasters) : : What was your favourite book of the month? : : #bookworm#maywrapup #thebooksatchelwrapup #coffee #booksbooksbooks #books

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I hope you’ve had a great first half of 2017 and that the second half is even better! ❤

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? How has your 2017 been so far? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

JUNE 2017 | Wrap-Up

Hello, hello!! Summer is now well underway and it’s time to say farewell to June. So much has happened these past few weeks that it seems like June was YEARS long. As per usual, here is what I was up to last month:

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In June I read a total of 9 books:

  1. The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  2. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  3. Emma by Jane Austen
  4. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  5. Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner
  6. Richard III by William Shakespeare
  7. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  8. Timeline by Michael Crichton
  9. Big Woods by William Faulkner

It’s so hard to pick just one favorite from this list! Matilda was the most fun book to read, Timeline was the most suspenseful, and Go Down, Moses was the most thought-provoking. It was unbelievably nice to spend as much time reading as I did in June after months of only having time to read what was assigned for my courses. Recently I received one of my summer reading lists in preparation for Oxford, and it’s safe to say that my reading will have to be much more focused for the rest of the summer!

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June was a blur of working, reading, hanging with friends, and trying get my plans all squared away for studying abroad this upcoming academic year. A few weeks ago I published this post announcing that I’ll be studying at Oxford University in England for the entire next academic year and I was overwhelmed by all of the lovely comments I received. You’re all so sweet and I appreciate your well wishes, advice, and congratulations so much!! ❤ This month I finally booked my flight for September and it’s so nice to finally have a date set for when I’ll be leaving… the whole thing seems so much more real now!

Earlier this month my brother graduated high school, which made me feel SO OLD. (How has it already been two whole years since I graduated? How am I already HALF WAY through college?) Thankfully the weather cooperated and we had beautiful sunny weather for both the ceremony and our party afterwards. It was such a great day!

June was also a great month for TV and movies. I finally finished watching Twin Peaks, which I absolutely loved (though the last episode was AWFUL). Recently I started watching Freaks and Geeks and I’m already so invested. Not only is it hilarious, but the characters are also so easy to relate with. I was definitely a geek in high school, though thankfully I was never bullied to the degree that Sam, Neal, and Bill are in the show. There’s only one season of the show (*sobs*) so I should be able to finish it pretty soon. The best movies I watched in June were The Last Five Years, La La Land, and Wonder Woman (if you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely should!).

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Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month (there are so many!!):

How was your month of June? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Liebster Award | 4

I’m back with another Liebster Award! Being nominated for these kinds of awards and tags is always such a pleasant surprise and brightens my day considerably. Thanks so much to May @ Forever and Everly for nominating me!!

  • 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.

If you were to stop blogging, what would be the reason?

Probably a lack of time. This happens to me sometimes when classes are in session because I go into total homework mode and basically lose all free time. Fortunately in the past I’ve been able to schedule enough posts in advance to avoid stopping blogging altogether during the semester, but a lack of time to blog is always a concern of mine. I miss it so much when I can’t do it often!

What are some hobbies you have?

Writing, taking bookstagram pictures, hiking, crafting, journaling, knitting, tap dancing… the list goes on!

Would you rather be dead or die? (Yes, there’s a difference.)

Hmmm… this is a difficult question! I think I’m going to say that I would rather be dead because I feel like the experience of dying could potentially be very painful and scary. Although neither of these is a preferred option!!

Do you like mangoes???

Not particularly. I would eat them if someone offered them to me, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek them out.

What book would you not feel guilty about stomping on, tearing, and burning in a fire?

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. I loved The Maze Runner (the first book in this trilogy) but this second installment took the series in a disappointing direction. The story had so much potential but I can’t help feeling as though this sequel squandered it all by resorting to a bizarre, confusing, and unoriginal explanation for the mystery set up in the first book.

What blogs do you ALWAYS look forward to reading? (Or, if you’re afraid your dear readers might feel bad: What type of blogs do you tend to follow? ie. book blogs, lifestyle blogs, writing blogs, etc.)

I always look forward to reading posts by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books. I’ve been following her blog forever and she writes such thought-provoking, interesting, creative discussion posts. She’s also just a really kind and thoughtful individual in general. Definitely check out her blog if you haven’t already!! ❤

What’s one moment in your life you’d choose to play over and over again (aka re-experience over and over again?)

I would definitely choose to relive the moment I learned that I got accepted to study abroad at Oxford for a year. I was sitting in the dining hall at school eating lunch with some friends when I first read the email with the good news and it was such an incredible moment. ❤

You have the choice of reading a book you HATE, every single day, or reading one good book per year. Which do you choose?

Oooh, this is a tough one! Although I would hate to read a book I dislike every single day, I think I would really miss the act of reading on a regular basis. On the other hand, I’d much rather read a book that I actually enjoy. So… I think I would rather read one good book per year.

What’s one food you will never get tired of eating??? (ONE food, people, ONE.)

My mom’s homemade granola. I have eaten this granola almost every day for breakfast for YEARS and I still love it. It’s so delicious!

What would you do if someone walked up to you and gave you 100 bucks?

Thank them immensely and then rush to the nearest bookstore.

How are you right now? ❤

So swell!!

Since I love May’s questions so much I’m going to pass them along to these bloggers as well!

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

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: General Excitement

Happy Tuesday!! The lovely bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish have decided that this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme involves our most anticipated upcoming 2017 releases. However, as I sat down to make my list I realized that I don’t actually know any books being released soon. It’s not that books aren’t being released in the next six months or so; rather, I’ve been stuck so deep in the hole that is college course work that I haven’t been paying much attention to bookish happenings lately.

In short: I’m literally not anticipating any upcoming releases.

Now you understand my current dilemma. What does one do when you’re unable to even begin making a Top Ten Tuesday list on the appropriate theme? *gasp* THE HORROR.

Instead, I’m going to talk about Ten Things That I’m Generally Excited About. Sound like a good compromise? (I’m going through with it regardless, so here we go!)

I’m really looking forward to relaxing and reading a lot this summer (and working, but that can be fun, right?). For me, summer also means spending a lot of time with family, which is something I haven’t gotten to do a lot recently because of school.

I’m determined to visit some of my friends from college this summer. It’s difficult because we all live in different states, but I know that we can make it work somehow! I miss them too much not to see them for such a long time. ❤

You might be asking yourself: Why on Earth is this girl excited about cleaning her bedroom? The answer to this is that moving back home after living away at college means that you accumulate a lot of extra stuff that suddenly all has to fit in one space instead of two. It’s taken me quite a while, but I’ve finally managed to clear out a lot of my old stuff and organize everything so I can actually see the floor, work at my desk, and open my closet door without causing an avalanche.

I’ve been journaling pretty consistently since around March and I’ve loved keeping a regular record of what’s been happening in my life. I even purchased some colorful highlighters, pens, and washi tape (my new love) to spice things up. {If you have any recommendations for good places to buy washi tape, definitely let me know!}

It’s almost been an entire year since I first started my bookstagram account (@nutfreenerd) and I’m having so much fun with it. I can’t wait to take some summery pictures outside now that the weather is finally nice!

Contributing to my excitement about bookstagram is the fact that my brother was recently kind enough to gift me his old camera since he purchased a new one not too long ago. I’ve never had a *fancy* camera before, so I’m really excited to start taking more photos!!

I’m currently in the middle of watching the original Twin Peaks series (NO SPOILERS, PLEASE!!) and I love it so much. I’m trying to finish it ASAP because I MUST know who killed Laura Palmer!!

I have an hour commute back and forth from work every day in the summer, which translates to A LOT of time to listen to music. Lately I’ve been loving bird.bird, Watsky, the Dear Evan Hansen cast recording, and the Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 soundtrack (what is my music taste?!?!?!).

I’ve been home for about two weeks and it’s amazing how much reading I’ve been able to do!! I can’t even express how great it feels to have time to read outside of class again. I miss it so much when I’m at school!

Similarly, I’ve also had a lot more time to blog since I’ve been home. During the semester I’m able to squeak in just enough blogging time to keep my blog updated, but not enough to write longer posts, in-depth reviews, post more frequently, or read and comment on other blogs. But now I’m BACK and ready to blog!! ❤

What are you generally excited for at the moment? Also, PLEASE tell me what books you’re anticipating for the rest of 2017 because I definitely need to be updated!

Yours,

HOLLY

People IRL Read This Blog?!?! | Discussion

Today I’m here to discuss a dilemma that nearly every blogger must confront at one point or another: the collision between “real life” and the blogging world.

In high school I was very secretive about my book blogging escapades. I never told anyone at school about it and no one ever randomly asked, “Hey, you wouldn’t happen to run a book blog by any chance, would you?” so I never had to actually say, “Why yes, I’ve run a book blog for years that no one knows about except people online and my parents. And my dogs.” I was perfectly content with the fact that no one else knew, happy to keep clacking away at my keyboard with my nerdy little secret tucked safely between the pages of whatever I happened to be reading that day.

And then I went to college.

Here’s the thing about college: it’s a lot more difficult to hide things from people when you basically live with them 24/7. It’s not like blogging is anything that I had to hide in a bad way– I’m proud of my blog and the hard work I put into it– but I’ve always had mixed feelings about telling people about it. Part of my hesitancy is that I don’t feel like many of the people I know personally would necessarily enjoy reading a blog dedicated to overly enthusiastic ramblings about books and bookish things. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is a relatively niche subject area, or at least it seems to be when the majority of my college-age peers are more concerned with partying and watching Netflix than anything else. (Shout out to my nerdy friends, though– you’re all gems! <3)

I quickly realized that it would be nearly impossible to keep my blog a complete secret from my friends, especially if I wanted to keep updating it and replying to comments throughout the semester. Gradually I plucked up the courage to gradually mention it to more and more of my small circle of friends. I was taken aback by their genuine enthusiasm, interest, and support. People I knew IRL being interested in my quirky little blog about books? This was a feeling I had never felt before– to be honest, it was a huge relief. 

Then I started a bookstagram account last summer.

Here’s the thing about Instagram: it shows you what other people have recently “liked.” So when my close friends from college started “liking” my bookish photos, more and more people from school began to see my account pop up on their screens. Little by little I watched in simultaneous horror and bewilderment as people I had never intended to know about my blog suddenly began to know about my blog. (I had foolishly put a link to my actual book blog in my Instagram bio.) When I got back to campus in the fall and continued to post photos on my bookstagram, I was shocked to find that so many people actually enjoyed scrolling through my carefully posed pictures of books that I had taken in my front yard and stockpiled on my phone like some sort of weird preparation ritual for an illiterate apocalypse. It was strange to talk about my book blog to peers in person. Suddenly it was no longer a platform leading directly into the Internet void; rather, my voice was being heard by people I came into contact with every day. 

I don’t mean to make it sound like my book blog is some popular site visited by the majority of my college campus. In the grand scheme of things, relatively few people even know about my blog to begin with. What I do mean to emphasis is how my attitude towards people know about my blog has changed. In high school I likely would have cowered away from the mere thought of people from school reading Nut Free Nerd; now, I almost welcome it. I still get flutters of nervous butterflies whenever someone mentions it to me in person, but I’m getting there.

To those of you reading this who I actually do know in person: Thank you bunches!!! *hugs*

If you’re a blogger, how do you deal with the crossover between “real life” and the blogging world? Do you actively spread the word about your blog or do you sit back and wait for people to find out about it naturally? Any advice? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

MARCH 2017 | Wrap-Up

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Ah, March: the green month of transition from winter to spring in which we all experience a sort of underlying current of excited anticipation… no? Just me? March has always seemed like one of those “in-between” months to me, standing alongside May and November as the chaotic calm before the storm of the months to come (if chaos can even be considered placid?). Regardless of how you feel about March, it’s time to once again say goodbye with another monthly wrap-up.

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In March I read a total of 5 books:

  1. How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky
  2. As You Wish by Cary Elwes
  3. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe by Ryan North & Erica Henderson
  4. Bayou Folk and A Night in Acadie by Kate Chopin
  5. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

I read some fantastic books this month, but heads above them all was How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky. This collection of personal essays was incredibly engaging, hilarious, and thought-provoking. One of the reasons I loved it so much is that it made me think about some of the quirky, unexpected experiences in my own life. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that there isn’t just one right path that everyone follows– for some, life can involve smuggling narwhal tusks across the border and getting in trouble for aggressively rapping at a teacher (true story– read the book!). Whether or not you’re a fan of Watsky’s music (which you should be), I highly recommend reading How to Ruin Everything. 

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Good old spring break– could you hear the relieved sighs of thousands of college students in mid-March? I spent my spring break reading, blogging, and reading sonnets for my Renaissance Poetry class (SO. MANY. SONNETS.). It was great to spend some time at home with family and friends, especially after enduring midterms the week before. Transitioning back to campus was a little difficult, but we’re all finally back in the swing of things now.

The highlight of this month was definitely when I went to New York City with some of my friends. We spent the day roaming around the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met), which I had never been to before this trip.

I’m not going to lied, I was fairly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of art that is in this museum, as well as the size of the museum itself. We spent hours meticulously combing through each exhibit, but even then I felt as though there was so much I was missing because there simply wasn’t enough time to look at everything. I loved seeing the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware (which is also HUGE) as well as one of the paintings they have by Claude Monet (probably my favorite painter). We also had a great time posing next to a bunch of the statues on display, as you can probably tell from the picture to the left.

I love going to museums and definitely wish that I had the opportunity to visit them more frequently. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough this semester to be able to visit two museums, which is more than I typically get around to visiting in a single year. If you ever get the chance to visit the Met, I highly recommend going– it’s amazing!

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Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here are some posts that I loved reading this month (there were SO MANY!!):

How was your month of March? What was the best book you read? Did you do anything really fun or exciting? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

School Book Tag

Today I’m here with the School Book Tag! (It might be Friday, but you can bet that I’ll be doing homework all weekend.) I’ve always been one of those students who loves school, despite the fact that I often complain about homework and actually didn’t like my high school very much. I loved school because I love learning, even though the system of doing so isn’t always effectively designed or executed.

Anyways, you can imagine how excited I was when I realized this book tag exists. Thanks so much to Jamie @ Book Pandamonium for tagging me!!

1. Math- Which book left your head spinning in circles?

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Not only is this book complicated and a bit confusing, but the plot itself is cyclical in the way it loops back and around through history and the main character’s past. There are so many alternative story lines that it can be rather difficult to keep a tight hold on the actual truth– if an actual truth even exists in this novel. Nevertheless, I highly recommend it!

2. English- Which book do you think has beautiful written expression?

Because I’m a sucker for beautiful writing, there are countless books that I could highlight here. Recently I read George Watsky’s How to Ruin Everything and was taken aback by the writing style. Sometimes lyrical, sometimes punchy, this collection of essays carries the undeniable mark of an articulate spoken word artist and rapper.

3. Physics- Who is your favorite scientifically minded character?

Definitely mathematician Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. He’s smart, he’s funny, and his refreshing common sense is the only ray of light amidst many of the impulsive, money-hungry characters. (Besides, he’s played by Jeff Goldblum in the film– he gets instant bonus points for that!).

4. Chemistry- Who is your favorite literary couple?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta are my favorite literary couple ever. I feel like I mention this book in nearly every book tag I post, but I’m not apologizing! (It’s a sign that you should probably read it ASAP!)

5. Biology- Who is your favorite book character?

My favorite book character… ever?!?! I don’t know if I can pick a definitive single favorite character, but the first one that comes to mind is Jane from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Her independence, solitude, and determination are qualities that really resonate with me (I’m also quite jealous of her sense of humor and ability to come up with snappy comebacks on the spot).

6. French- What is your favorite foreign book?

Over the summer I read the English translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and unexpectedly fell in love with the ethereal writing, the sprawling narrative arc, and the endlessly cyclical nature of the plot.

7. Art- Have you ever judged a book by its cover, even if you weren’t meant to?!

Absolutely. For instance, I love the cover design of The Girls by Emma Cline, but the story itself really disappointed me. I think it had a lot of potential to be suspenseful, exciting, and eye-opening, but it simply fell flat and failed to dig below the surface of anything substantial.

8. History- What was the last historical book you read?

When Everything Changed by Gail Collins. This was actually a graduation gift from my high school AP United States History teacher and I finally got around to reading it over winter break. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an engaging, comprehensive, and well-written account of the history of modern American women from a refreshing perspective.

9. Geography- Which literary destination would you really like to visit? 

Stepping away from the rather obvious answers (Hogwarts! The Shire!), I’m going to say Cabeswater from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This enchanting and mysterious setting has never failed to set my imagination into overdrive.

10. Drama- What’s a book that you think has a lot of over-dramatic hype?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Though I did enjoy this book, I don’t quite feel as though it warranted the explosion of praise that surrounded it at the peak of its popularity. It’s suspenseful and has some surprising twists, but I don’t think it’s anything extraordinary. #sorrynotsorry

Thanks again to Jamie for tagging me!

What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY