2019

Booked

I love reading.

I love the idea of getting lost in a world when the real world is becoming too much. Reading is something I do when I need to chill out. Something that is becoming increasingly necessary in this world, as it becomes more angry an confrontational.

That’s why books have come to mean so much to me, as there is no confrontation. Everything that could cause anguish is contained within the pages of the book. And if it stresses me out at all, I can close the book and do something else. Because if I am really invested in a book or character, I can find myself panicking if the storyline turns suddenly. And I am aware that seems really strange.

My issue these days, seems to be on focus. There are times where I can get right into a novel, but other times my mind can’t focus. And it is really hard. Something that I’ve used to help me relax, might not help me anymore. I have discussed this quite a bit on here, but it is so annoying.

I am currently reading Limmy’s (Scottish comedian) autobiography, listening to a book on the Korean War and reading a thriller on my Kindle. I have to be able to jump back and forth so that I can take in a book whatever my mood is. The problem is that I often end up reading the same stuff over and over again. It’s not really a problem, but I feel like it is. I love the feeling of getting into a new book for the first time, where you can’t put it down. But, due to the problem with focusing, it’s hard to get into something new.

2019

Hello 2019.

The start of a new year, already? It’s pretty scary how time just seems to fly by, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. It’s important to make the best of whatever time you have, and that includes relaxing.

This year, I have a few things I want to sort out.

1) Finances- I pretty much live payday to payday, which is pretty sad. It’s no way to live life, as you can feel permanently broke. So I am planning on setting up my bill payment account, and I won’t be able to touch the money that goes into there. It’s going to need a bit of discipline, but I am aiming to spend a lot wiser next year, and hopefully save some money.

2) Be Healthier- I am very unhealthy. I do a lot of walking, but I eat so much crap. This year is about progress, so I want try and move a little forward with my health. It includes eating better, and doing more exercise, as well as looking after my mental health. My mental health was awful last year, and it was like a brick wall that stopped me from doing so much. I want my health to stop being such a burden on my own life. So more ‘body positive’ and self-care in the year ahead.

3) Read More- this sounds a pretty weak one, but it’s important. I have always read, but last year I really struggled. Reading is something I need to have focus for, and I haven’t had the focus. So I am going to try and put time aside to relax and read to unwind.

It’s not a lot. But they are things I would like to achieve. The start of a new year always feels like a fresh start, but it’s not really. It does feel like a good opportunity to push myself to be better, but every day should be like that. But, it psychologically feels to close off a year, especially if it feels like a bad one.

Let’s see what 2019 has in store.

2018, Uncategorized

If It’s Real, Then I Don’t Want To Know

Life is full of ups and downs. And it is strange, because whether you decieve a particular moment as either ‘up’ or ‘down’ comes from what is going on inside your own head. If you are having a bad day, very little will overcome that feeling, and you will focus on the bad stuff. However, if you are in a good mood, you pick the more positive things, and can swipe the negative to the side.

I think it is very strange that our belief on what is going on in the world, is based on our own perception, which is based on our own emotions. I obviously am not in any way a psychologist, but I sometimes think about that stuff. It obviously is something that happens when I am feeling a little reflective and more positive. When I am down, I tend to feel like that everything is collapsing on top of me, so I don’t really tend to think about anything else.

Sometimes, thinking about anything is a bit hard, to be honest. Which is why it is so easy to lose yourself in a book, movie or TV series. It can feel better to live through a fictional life, than living your own. That is something that is really sad, but it is true. These fictional worlds become a way of coping, even escaping from your own life for a short time. And, that respite, may be all a person needs to get back on form.

2018, Uncategorized

Escaping Through A Book

I had a conversation at work the other day, with a guy who couldn’t understand why my work stowed so many books. He was wondering why people still buy books, as he hadn’t read a book since he was at school, over a decade ago. I feel like I was the polar opposite to this guy. I have read so many books since my school days, and over the last few years, I have been reading a lot more. I am currently reading through a similar number of books as when I was about 12/13, when reading was my favourite thing ever.

At any one point in time, I have 3 books which I will be working through. I have a book on Audible, a book on my kindle and physical book that sits in my bag. When I say this to people, the most common reaction is ‘how can you read more than one book at once’. As if by reading a chapter of Perks of being a Wallflower, I forget where I am in the audio book of Game of Thrones. That’s not really how things work. I find it strange that people seem to thing that the only piece of media that you can dip in and out of, are TV shows. Like, people think nothing about sitting in front of the ol’ tellybox and watching 3 different programs, one after another.

I do a lot of my reading whilst having a coffee whilst in town, or on the bus. Sometimes my anxiety flares up, as if I fear a bad situation will happen because I am on my own. So a coping mechanism I have is to enjoy a book for a chapter or too. On the bus (or gym), I like to listen to a book, as it is more practical. I read my book, in my bed or when I am having a cuppa, because I can. And usually, the aim is to relax, and I find reading relaxing. Sometimes I forget to bring my physical book with me, so I have a book on my Kindle, which has an app that I can access on my phone.

When I was really little, I would be so happy with a book. I went to Sunday School because they did painting every Sunday, and then gave out books as Christmas presents. I have so many happy memories of going to the library when I was little, and seeing all these books. I still get excited whenever I walk into a library or book shop. Reading is something that has been such a big part of my life, I can’t imagine how people function without a book.

2017, books

Happy Book Lovers Day ❤️

I rarely pay attention to these 'blah blah day' things, but when it is relation to books, I felt I'd better celebrate. And what better way to celebrate than with a tag. The tag is borrowed from the lovely Kayleigh, and you should certainly check out her book blog.

1. What was the last book you read?
I finally completed Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

2. Was it a good one?
Yes. It is quite absorbing and took a lot to get through. Though the story is interesting, and not really what I would normally read.

3. What made it good?
Most of the books I look at, are either modern day or fantasy. This book had more of a period setting, and it has actually made me want to read more like this.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?
Yes, though if you have a short attention span, like me, it may take a while to get through. It is well worth it.

5. How often do you read?
Sometimes I get a little bit of information overload, and I can focus on anything, including reading. Which blows. But I counter that with the days where I can read books in one go.

6. Do you like to read?
Yes. It has been a relaxing thing for me to do for most of my life.

7. What was the last bad book you read?
About A Girl by Lindsey Kelk.

8. What made you dislike it?
The characterisation felt so contrived and fake. I couldn't feel anything for any of the characters. It made me think of reality TV and I hate reality TV.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?
I think that's the dream, isn't it. To just write anything that touches someone. It's kind of magical.

10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?
Probably The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It was a book that helped settle my mind, when I struggled most with my mental health. It's a great book.

11. Do you read fan fiction?
Yes. Started with boy bands, progressed into anime… a true captain will go down their ship. 😂

12. Do you write fan fiction?
I did, a long time ago.

13. What's your favorite book?
Out by Natsuo Kirino

14. What's your least favorite book?
The Twilight saga… in general. I bought the whole lot, read the first one, and donated the lot to my local library. I maybe would have liked it when I was younger, but I was in my 20s and it was strange.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?
Whilst I like having books anywhere I am, like on my phone, nothing beats a book. I love the whole process of reading a physical book. And, second hand books are great, because you can think about any differences the last reader had about the imaginary world unfolding in front of you. It's why I rent a lot at the library.

16. When did you learn to read?
Probably early Primary School, with Link-Up books and Puddle Lane.

17. What is your favorite book you had to read in school?
I really loved To Kill A Mockingbird at school, to the point I bought it as an adult.

18. What is your favorite book series?
Harry Potter by JK Rowling, The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dan and The Millenium saga by Steig Larrson.

19. Who is your favorite author?
Only one? Between Chuck Palahnuik, John Grisham and Paulo Coelho.

20. What is your favorite genre?
Depends on my mood, but I like drama orientated books, but will try to read anything.

21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?
Sasuke Uchiha, because I made it this far without mentioning NARUTO. I like this character, because when I was younger and starting to have mental health issues, i felt I understood Sasuke's take on the world. Why he became so focused on one thing. He was hurting, and I empathised with that.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?
A good book should always paint a world and take you there.

23. Which book do you wish had a sequel?
I don't know. I tend to find things go a bit off kilter in a sequel, so I prefer stand alone books.

24. Which book do you wish DIDN'T have a sequel?
50 Shades… I tried, I did. It is horrible in every way, and it shouldn't have a first book, never mind sequels and movies.

25. How long does it take you to read a book?
It depends, but because I have an awful attention span, I normally flit between one or two books at a time. So longer than it would be if I just read one.

26. Do you like when books become movies?
Most of the time I have imagined something completely different, so I am left disappoint. The Harry Potter books were okay, and John Green adaptations tend to be pretty spot on.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?
Not really the point, but my interpretation of Harry Potter changed after the movies started coming out. And that disappoints me. I started reading Harry Potter back in the late 90s, before any movies. The world was good, but I thought differently of the characters.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?
I think Lord of The Rings did a good job, considering all the the walking.

29. Do you read newspapers?
Sometimes, more editorials rather than tabloid-y stuff.

30. Do you read magazines?
Mostly anime or food related. Sometimes music. I used to buy loads of magazines, I've cut down a lot.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?
Magazines, because rather than an overview, you can get what you are actually interested in.

32. Do you read while in bed?
Yes. Sometimes just before bed, and in the morning when I'm waking up.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?
Sometimes. Usually end up playing a game on my phone.

34. Do you read while in the car?
Not really. I did when I had to get the bus, now I have my own car. I read the road… if that counts.

35. Do you read while in the bath?
I drop things in the bath. So not really.

36. Are you a fast reader?
If I can get into the book.

37. Are you a slow reader?
Probably. It's to with my attention span, again.

38. Where is your favorite place to read?
Anywhere, really. But I love sitting in the garden on a sunny day.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?
Normally I'll be able to focus for a while. After about 20 minutes my brain starts ticking on to something else. Unless the book is super good.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?
I like music. So no.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?
Both my Mum and Dad love books, and still read a lot.

42. What book is next on your list to read?
I have a selection. Amy Poehler's Yes Please probably, because I need a laugh these days.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?
Primary 3/4… I'd be about 7ish… I am guessing.

44. Who is your favorite children's book author?
Colin Dan

45. Which author would you most want to interview?
I don't really know. Maybe John Green or Paulo Coelho.

46. Which author do you think you'd be friends with?
Anyone. I think being friends with someone who is good at writing, would be so great. I'd just ogle them, no matter who it was.

47. What book have you reread the most?
Probably Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien. It just pulls me in, so hard. I could get lost for days.

48. Which books do you consider "classics"?
Books like Emma… books that have been published for possibly hundreds of years.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?
The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dan. It's animals traveling from their woodland home, which is being bulldozed to build houses. Lots of animals travel together to find sanctuary in White Deer Park. It has a lot of lessons about how the human world hurts the animals living around us. And although I read it when I was at Primary School, it wasn't taught.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?
Books breed ideas… no book should be banned. Allow for free critique, but don't ban.

2017, advice, books

The Journey to White Deer Park

I am a bit of a bookworm. But in periods where I become a bit ‘stuck’, it can include finding it difficult to do hobbies, as well as create things. That means, i find it hard to relax to music and I just can’t focus on a book to read. Now, these can be issues, as both music and books are ways I like to relax. So sometimes, i feel like I just can’t unwind, and it is so frustrating.

So I made a choice to try and read 50
books this year. Its a big number, as I really struggled last year reading that same target, in fact I think I ready 11 books. 11 books in 12 months is really bad, as I used to read ALL THE TIME. So, in keeping of 2017’s plan I thought I’d try and red a book from my childhood to get me started.

The Animals of Farthing Wood.

It was a good idea. Because although the story was a lot mor simplified than I remember, was still super entertaining. And it made me think. If I want to do things, and am finding it hard, then maybe do baby steps. Working a really small bit towards your goal is better than working towards nothing at all.

When I was young Farthing Wood was a favourite. I read it so much, and became convinced I was going to get a pet fox. As a fox was one of the main characters. I loved animals, and the idea of different animals banding together to travel to a safer place, after the pond in their home of Farthing Wood is filled in by humans. People were building on their homes, and the animals leave whilst they still have the chance. But where do they go? To an animal reserve called White Dear Park, where they could all be safe. So the animals, a badger, fox, snake, weasel, mole, owl, rabbits, mice, voles and more, make a pact to live together in unity, until they reached their new home.

I read the book when the cartoon, based on the book, was aired on Children’s BBC, when I was about 10 or 11. The book disappoint, in fact, when I re-read it last week, it still kept me entertained. Okay, the way the animals all talked to each other was just like they were people, did annoy me. But it was still a book I could get right into.

So maybe, if you are struggling, try to do something you loved as a kid. It might help you re-discover why you love what you do, and give you the push to carry on.

Uncategorized

New Year, New Me? 

Maybe not. 

Not that there is anything wrong with trying to better yourself. I think that every new day is another opportunity the better yourself and make the day better than yesterday. It is good that people use the start of a new year, as a perfect way too try and set any plans in motion. And it is easy to see why so many people do it. 

Personally, I know that I have a high failure rate when I have made New Year’s resolutions previously. I will maybe do okay for a few days or, if lucky, a few weeks. But, then, I lose focus, slip up, lose all momentum, and then quit. It’s not because of the task itself, I think it’s because of the build up and putting myself under so much pressure to succeed. Add into the mix that I have quite a bad fear of failure, there is only one way things tend to go. 

So, I am trying to take one day at a time, rather than generalising the whole year. It makes things a bit easier for me to deal with, as the periods of time I try to make better, are a lot smaller. And, if I do slip up, it’s only one day. There is a new one tomorrow, and that one will be better. At least I hope that is the case. I have been trying to eat a bit healthier, and that is something that I find easier taking one day at a time. Mostly, because I try to plan a week in advance and I just go eat some crisps instead. 

I love the metaphor that the start of a new year is a start of a new book, I like to think that every day is a different page of that book. That helps me visualise where I am on a certain day, and the idea is of turning the page away from a bad day is soothing to me. I don’t know why. It does help my anxiety levels, as I feel more in control.

As long as people are trying to better themselves, any attempts should be applauded. Whatever the success rate.