Using Philosophy To Become a Better Writer

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After an existentialism unit in my English class, I have had a sudden interest in learning about philosophy and what exactly that means. And it is a lot, let me tell you. Philosophy consists of so, so, so many schools of thoughts that it is really hard to keep track, and honestly, maybe impossible to learn them all in depth. Unless this is what you choose to devote your life to, but even then, there is a lot to learn. Anyways, I’m by no means an expert or even an intermediate honestly, but I want to share with you all how I use what I’ve learned about philosophy to become a better, stronger writer. I hope you enjoy!

What IS Philosophy Exactly?

A Wikipedia definition says that philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It involves thinking, discussion, rational argument, and questioning. Philosophy is basically the study of human life; how we think, act, etc, and why we do all that.

What Are Philosophical Schools of Thought?

A school of thought is a way of thinking, and in philosophy, there are a lot because humans cannot agree on just one way of thinking, let alone 10 or even 50. I’m only going to list 5 so you can get an idea of what I mean by “philosophical schools of thought”, but in this blog post, I’m probably only going to mention 3 or so later on.

  • Existentialism – A school of thought that emphasizes personal freedom
  • Nihilism – A school of thought that rejects religious and moral principles
  • Marxism – A school of thought based on the political and economic theories of Karl Marx, later associates itself with communism
  • Taoism – A school of thought that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao, which means way or path
  • Stoicism – A school of thought that accepts the ways of the world whether they are positive or negative

How Can Philosophy Make Your Writing Better?

Having your story or one of your characters aligned with a philosophical school of thought, or just being aware of philosophy can increase the depth and physicality of your writing. Just because your incorporating philosophy doesn’t mean your story can’t still be a YA contemporary or even a fantasy, it just means you are increasing the quality of your story, character, and world.

Examples:

  • One of your characters is an existentialist. This allows you to explore how they interact with society, how society interacts with them, and how their beliefs affect the plot
  • The society of your world is a nihilistic society. First off, this would be terrifying but SO interesting to read about because how do the people who don’t believe in this school of thought live? How do people who disagree with nihilism keep their morality? How do those who follow nihilism live?
  • What would it look like to follow a character who enjoys studying philosophy? Does this allow them to make better decisions?

I know this was short, but I really wanted this to just plant the idea of exploring philosophy in your writing. It really does make for interesting stories and characters because we don’t see philosophy explored too often in modern literature, especially YA! Here are some resources to learn about philosophy:

Crash Course: Philosophy – This is put on by two authors, Hank, and John Green and they were SUPER helpful in teaching the basics of philosophy and other areas of it. I definitely recommend checking out this playlist, or at least a few of the videos on it to see if philosophy interests you.

The Outsider by Albert Camus – This is a novel that focuses on an existentialism character named Meursault, who after committing an immoral crime and fails to feel remorse for it, is cast as an outsider by society. It is a really interesting character study, and I learned so much about writing and writing characters from it.

That is it for this blog post, but I hope it was useful and eye-opening for you! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Beginner’s Guide to: Greek Mythology

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Beginner’s Guide to: Greek Mythology

As a huge nerd about Greek mythology, I thought it would be helpful to make a quick and easy guide for some of you who might not know as much about it all but want to! Being a writer, it is essential to learn about different cultures and their stories. Not only is it interesting, but also the possible inspiration for a new story. So, here is a simple beginner’s guide to Greek mythology. I hope it is helpful and that you learn something new from it!

The  13 Main Goddesses & Gods

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Zeus – God of the sky and thunder, ruler of the sky and all people (including gods!), son of Rhea and Cronus/Kronos, children:  Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Hephaestus, Dionysus, Ares, Hermes, Heracles/Hercules, Helen of Troy, and many, MANY more, married to Hera, symbols: lightning bolt, royal scepter, Aegis (his shield with a gorgon’s face on it)

Hera – Goddess of marriage and birth, queen of the Gods and humans, queen of the heavens, married to Zeus, jealous and vengeful of Zeus’s many lovers, daughter of Rhea and Cronos, only had children with Zeus, children: Ares, Hebe, Hephaestus, and more, symbols: diadem, scepter, pomegranate

Poseidon – God of the sea, horses, and earthquakes, ruler of the sea, second son of Rhea and Cronus/Kronos, children: Theseus, Triton, Polyphemus, Orion, and many more…, symbols: trident, fish, dolphins, and horses

Hades – God of the dead, the underworld, riches, ruler of the underworld, first son of Rhea and Cronus/Kronos, children: Melinoe, Macaria, and Zagreus, married to Persephone (daughter of Demeter) who he kidnapped, symbols: Cerberus (his 3 headed dogs), scepter, drinking horn

Athena – Goddess of wisdom, battle strategy, strength, and skill, sprung from Zeus’s head in full armor, helped many Greek heroes, a virgin goddess, city of Athens named after her after she gave the people the first olive tree, symbols: owls, olive tree, snakes, armor, and spears

Aphrodite – Goddess of love and beauty, born from the foam the sea of Paphos after Cronus’s cut up pieces were thrown in but another birth story is she is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, married to Hephaestus, children: Eros, The Graces, Aeneas, and more, symbols: dolphins, rose, dove, swan

Artemis – Goddess of the hunt and the moon, daughter of Leto and Zeus, twin sister of Zeus, virgin goddess, spends her time roaming the forest with nymphs, symbols: bow and arrows, stags, hunting dog, and the moon

Apollo – God of the sun, music, and prophecy, twin brother of Artemis, son of Leto and Zeus, children: Orpheus, Asclepius, and a few others, companion of the nine Muses, symbols: lyre, laurel wreath, and bow and arrows

Ares – God of war, bad aspects of war, son of Zeus and Hera, lover of Aphrodite, children: Eros, Harmonia, Phobos, and more, symbols: spear and helmet, dog, chariot, and boar

Dionysus – God of wine, winemaking, and madness, son of Zeus and Semele (princess of Thebes), benevolent towards humans unlike many gods, symbols: grapevine, leopard skin, cheetah, panther

Demeter – Goddess of agriculture and the harvest, daughter of Rhea and Cronos, mother of Persephone (goddess of flowers), associated with the torch because of her endless fight for her daughter who was kidnapped by Hades and now splits her time between the mortal world and the underworld in compromise, children: Persephone, Arion, Plutus, and more, symbols: cornucopia, wheat, torch, and bread

Hephaestus – God of fire, metalworking, and forges, son of Hera and Zeus, depicted as the “ugly god” after being thrown down a mountain by Hera, husband of Aphrodite, children: Thalia, Eucleia, and more, symbols: hammer and tongs

Hermes – God of thieves, roads, travelers, and trade, son of Zeus and Maia, the messenger of the gods, the only person allowed to leave the underworld without consequence, children: Pan (a satyr; half-man and half-goat), and more, symbols: lyre, rooster, Caduceus (staff with snakes around it; medical symbol)

Myths & Legends

Heracles and the 12 Labours

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After Hera drove Hercules to madness, resulting him in killing his wife, Megara, and their children, Hercules seeks out the Oracle of Delphi for redemption and is told to serve King Eurystheus to do so. This resulted in him setting out to complete 12 labours to redeem his actions, and they are:

  • To kill the Nemean Lion
  • To kill the Hydra
  • Capture the Ceryneian Hind
  • Capture the Erymanthian Boar
  • Clear the stables of Augeas in one day
  • Kill the Stymphalian Birds
  • Capture the Cretan Bull
  • Steal the Mares of Diomedes
  • Steal the girdle of the Amazonian queen
  • Steal the cattle of Geryon
  • Steal the apples of Hesperides
  • Capture and bring back Cerberus from the underworld

Perseus & Medusa

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Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, was once beautiful but after being caught at Athena’s alter with Poseidon, she was cursed with snakes for hair and the ability to turn anyone who looks at her to stone. Perseus dared to end her though, asking Athena and Hermes for help. In return, he received winged sandals, a cap to make him invisible, a sword, and a mirrored shield to see her reflection in. Perseus won in a battle against the well, against the sleeping gorgon, and the droplets of blood from her decapitated head created Pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a giant, winged boar. Perseus than fled back home, using Medusa’s head as a weapon on many occasions, turning anyone who dared to defy him to stone. Eventually, it was placed on Athena’s shield called Aegis.

That is all for my beginner’s guide to Greek mythology, and I hope this was all helpful! Or at least, I hope it was enough to encourage you to research all the gods and goddesses and legends a little bit more. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update

 

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Sources Used:

https://www.greekmythology.com/

https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/

 

Reading + Writing Update!

Hellooo. I swear it has been 84 years since I have done a reading + writing update and I almost forgot to do one before the night was done but then while watching a reading vlog on YouTube I was like “YOU ALMOST FORGOT AGAIN!”. So, here I am, lying on my bed with my laptop in front of me, ready to update you all on what I read and wrote this past week. And spoiler alert, it was a pretty productive week.

This week, I finished two books and started another. That is pretty good for my reading habits lately, but considering I ended up having to go to school ONLY on Thursday (we got 3 snow days and already had Friday off…), I could have gotten a LOT more done. The first book I finished reading was one I started last Saturday I think, and that is Notes From a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life by Erin Wunker. This is a creative non-fiction book that is essentially a collection of essays about being a feminist in this patriarchal world we live in. There were three main chunks in it though, one focusing on rape culture, the other on friendship as feminists, and lastly, being a mother and feminist. I read this for my creative non-fiction assignment in my writing class, and found it really interesting and refreshing! I enjoyed it, but there was something that just kept me from really loving it though. Still, I liked it. Next, I finally, FINALLY finished reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and I am so proud of myself. I’ve been reading this book for a month, but yesterday, I finally read the last 50 pages. It’s not that I didn’t like this book, in fact, I really liked it, but it is so different from what I usually read, and much more dense that it took me a while to pick through. I’m glad I can finally check this classic off my list though, and I am even more excited to continue exploring Austen’s work. Next stop is Northanger Abbey! So, those are the 2 books I finished reading this week, but then I also decided to reward myself with one of my favourite books; To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I was, and am since I’m still reading it, just in desperate need of a fun and warm-hearted contemporary so of course, I turned to my fave. Since I am already 150 pages into it, I’m sure I’ll be able to finish it in the next day or two! While I’m not 100% sure what I am reading next, I did pick up A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro randomly from the library, so maybe I will dive into that next.

As for writing, I was surprisingly productive. Since I had quite a few days off this week, I woke up earlier and fit in at least 1,000 words before my workout. It felt so good. According to my sticker method tracker in my planner, I wrote about 7,500 words which is so great since I haven’t been doing a lot of writing lately. I did fall off the waking up early and writing thing these last few days, but I’m hoping to try and make it a routine this coming week. However, I do get Monday off as well, and then once school comes back in full swing, I will see how easy it is to keep to this routine of waking up early and writing before the rest of the day. If I try, I think I can keep it up though.

Anyways, that is all for this reading and writing update, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

P.S. I have something coming tomorrow that is a liiitle bit different than what I usually post. It’s not really part of my whole re-defining a blog thing…or actually, maybe it is. It just wasn’t what I had in mind but nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it!

Last Blog Post: Piecing Together THE Idea – Tips, Tricks & Steps

 

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Piecing Together THE Idea – Tips, Tricks & Steps

 

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Happy Wednesday!

If you read my last blog post, I talked about how I was re-defining my blog regarding the content I post (still books, writing, and whatnot, just more creative!), buuut this blog post is not part of that. Of course, I put a lot of effort into this blog post as I always do, but my new, vamped up content is in progress and yet to come. Get excited though because I am! Anyways, today I will be sharing some tips and all that fun stuff on getting a story idea and what to do next. I hope this is helpful!

Getting the Idea:

TIP #1: Focus On the Bare Bones of the Idea Rather Than the Big Picture – Thinking of the beginning, middle, and end before you even a concept of an idea can not only be intimidating but hinder your ability to flesh out an interesting and fleshed out story. Instead, focus on a simple, few word outline of an idea and slowly build off of that. Example: A bus ride; what happens on the bus ride?; who is on the bus ride?; where is the bus going?

The Next Steps:

  • Build Off That Idea Via Point Form – This makes it easier to organize, think of, keep track of, and continue building off of all your thoughts and ideas
  • Determine the Theme – This is helpful when determining how you want your story to sound tone wise as well. It may not seem very important at first, but if you know what you want your story to sound like, writing it will be so much easier! What do I mean by sound? Well, that refers to if your story is more upbeat, dark, powerful, etc, etc
  • Give Your Character Depth By Giving Them One Unique Quality – Of course, you should develop your main character a lot more than giving them just ONE interesting quality, but when it comes to the early stages of writing a story, this makes it SO much easier to write your story. I am a firm believer in planning the basic outline of your story, writing the first draft to see what works and whatnot, AND THEN going back to fully outline everything.
  • Focus On One Part At a Time: Beginning, Middle, and then the End – Come Up With At Least 3 Plot Points for Beginning, Middle + End – These will act as almost connecting tissue for the bones of your idea (whatever is the beginning, middle + end), making your story better.
  • One Liner Ending – Again, the more concise in the beginning stages the better. Come up with your ending and translate it into one single sentence. This will make the writing part easier, trust me! This will also allow you to have more creative freedom when it comes to your ending, how you get there, and what exactly happens because you won’t have a super detailed outline that you need to follow…unless that is how you write best.

Quick Tips:

  1. Point Form – I mentioned this above but I just need to do it again. Point form keeps things quick and simple, making it a lot easier to follow when writing!
  2. Remember A Story Comes in Pieces – All of my steps above are the bits and pieces that you will need to string together in order to write a concise and full story. You need all the parts, maybe even some more. When I write this way, I write faster and more efficiently which is always amazing.
  3. Writing Fills In A Lot of Gaps – Unless you are a hardcore plotter, it is important to remember that writing will fill in a lot of gaps you notice in your outline when in the planning stages. Sometimes, we just can’t come up with a reasonable solution or plot point or answer for our outline, and a lot of the times, just writing the story is the best way to solve it! It results in a more creative and free story that flows all nicely together.

Those are my tips and tricks and steps when it comes to piecing together your story idea, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Re-Defining My Blog!

 

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Re-Defining My Blog!

Happy Monday!

I took an unintentional week off blogging for no reason other than a week passed and I realized I never pre-wrote any blog posts…For the last few days though, I’ve been trying to come up with my usual blog content to post for the coming weeks, and honestly, I’ve been stumped. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some ideas but they are a little more creative than what I usually post, and they would also take a little bit more time to write up. However, I still want to be consistent with my current blog schedule because I love posting so often! So, I have decided to kind of…re-define my blog in a way that allows and encourages me to expand my creativity with blog posts and I’m going to share with you all what that means.

What has triggered my sudden desire to revamp my blog content?

Well, reading. I love reading, and I hope you all know that by now because 1) a lot of my content relates back to books and 2) my blog is literally called mylifewithbooks. But I’ve been reading a lot of different genres and types of books that I don’t normally pick up. I always talk about the importance of expanding your reading tastes, and I do that as well because of how essential it is as a reader, writer, and overall curious person. Just something about what I’ve been reading lately has sparked more creativity in me. And I love it!

So, what have I been reading lately? 

We have some classic contemporary, some tragedy/revenge, some inspiring creative non-fiction, and even some YA fantasy. All very different but all eye-opening to me; a young reader, writer, blogger, person-thing. Each one is inspiring me to be more ambitious and courageous with my creative projects, choices, thoughts, ideas, etc, etc, etc.

One thing I want to do this year with my blog is to share more of my own personal work which ties into the whole idea of re-vamping my blog. Whether that is my short stories, screenplays (I’ve only written one and it was for my writing class, but it was SO much fun that I might do more in the future), stage plays, creative non-fiction pieces, reviews, or whatever my little writer heart desires. I just want to post more of that on this platform I created and get my voice out there.

I still want to post things about what I’m reading, what I will be reading, and writing tips and whatnot, but I want to spruce things up a little. However, this type of content I aspire to write will take a little more time to create so I think I will permanently knock off the Friday blog posts and only post on Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday (my reading + writing updates). I am a fairly quick writer, so the writing part of these new posts won’t take long but crafting and molding them into what I want them to be will. Like any writing project goes really. Also, editing. One other thing I want, no, NEED to work on this year is taking the time to thoroughly edit my posts. I usually proofread my posts once, maybe twice, and then boom, I post it. To make my content even better and more “professional”, I want to make sure my posts are better edited. Again, this will take up a tiny bit more time, but not much.

Besides, I think we all prefer content that is made with 110% of a person’s effort rather than some half-assed post, right?

To conclude this rambly post, I don’t know when we will start seeing this shiny brand new content on my blog, but I’m hoping before February is over! This past weekend was the first weekend, maybe in the history of time itself, that I barely had any homework so hopefully, past me took advantage of it. I’m going to be reading, writing, blogging, and just exuding all my pent up creative energy that I’ve been hoarding for a few weeks now. It is pounding at me to be let free, and since I am only the host of it all, I must comply!

Last Blog Post: Life Update – Books, Writing, Blogging + More!

 

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Life Update – Books, Writing, Blogging + More!

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Hey guys! Happy Wednesday! I hope the week is treating you well so far, and hopefully, the rest of the week is even better. Today, I am going to be doing something a liiitle bit different because I think it is about time for a life update. I don’t think I’ve done one of these ever, but you got to start somewhere, right? Also, I haven’t done a reading and writing update in like two weeks so I thought I would add that in here as well. Anyways, let’s get into it.

Due to a wonderful feature on WordPress that lets you pre-write blog posts and schedule them ahead of time, you might not have noticed that in the last month or so, I’ve been slacking with the blogs. I was pretty good through the Biannual Bibliothon but every now and then, I miss an upload day. Which, is not a big deal because I am all for trying to stick to my schedule but I’m never mad if I miss a day because life happens. Sometimes I cannot find inspiration to write a blog post ANYWHERE, or school has completely taken over my life and trying to write a blog post would basically be a wasted hour where I could have put towards my never-ending pile of homework…those are kind of the cases, but also not really.

Overall, I am a pretty social person. I love going out and doing things, getting out of my comfort zone and just being with friends. However, since last year (my grade 11 year) was my first year at a new school (my…sixth school?) and while I’ve done this rodeo before, I decided to focus more on school than making friends. I still went out every now and then, but I spent a lot of time on school, blogging, writing, and reading which was GREAT because I got a lot of good stuff accomplished in 2017/2018. However, this year I’ve expanded my friend group a little bit and have suddenly found myself juggling all of my passions and school and now a “bubbling” social life. This sounds so lame but it is really hard to do all of this without wanting to pass out in bed at 8pm!

This week, I’ve been dedicating it to find balance amongst all this craziness but it’s been a struggle. I have done little things here and there to squeeze in time for the things I love. Suddenly, working out has become a favourite hobby? Pasttime? Of mine, and it is great because it works on my mental health and physical health at the same time. So that’s great. I haven’t found it hard to find time for working out because it is a wonderful way to procrastinate. Next comes reading because when was the last time I read more than 10 pages in one day? Hmm, couldn’t tell you honestly. I really want to change that, so to get back in the habit of reading, I’m trying to take a bath or two a week because that is really the only way I won’t get distracted while reading. So far, it has been successful because I read 30ish pages of Pride and Prejudice and am now only 100 pages away from finishing it!

One other thing I’ve been struggling with amongst time management is reigniting my passion for writing. Don’t get me wrong, I still loooove writing with all my heart and I know it is what I’m meant to do, but I’ve been so focused on writing for this contest or this literary magazine or this writing assignment that it’s felt more like a chore than a choice. This really sucks, and I’m trying to just write what I want at the moment to fix this. Well, I will be after I hand in my screenplay assignment on Monday. I know it won’t be quick and easy, but I’m willing to set aside all the writing contests and literary magazines to do so.

Honestly, if I cut back on all the YouTube and Netflix I could get everything done but this is a VERY important part of my self-care routine and self-care is important! (Ha haI am trying to limit the amount I watch though…it’s becoming a problem.)

To make it a little bit easier to learn how to balance all the things, I am going to only upload blogs three times a week instead of four. I’ve decided to sacrifice Friday blog posts (you’ll still be getting Monday, Wednesday, and Sunday blog posts from me!) because uploading four times a week is a lot…most people I follow only upload twice a week (which is completely fine. Upload as many times a week as you want!) so I’ve realized it’s okay if I dial it back a day. This will also help replenish my energy towards my blog, and hopefully, in a month or so, I’ll know how to balance my life and start uploading how I usually do on here!

Anyways, that is it for my rambly life update. Basically, I cannot balance everything right now so I’m cutting back on blogging, limiting my binge-watching time, and focusing on fitting in other productive things I love like reading, writing, and yeah, school.

I hope if anything, some of you can relate to this and like me, are trying to learn how to handle everything without completely shutting down! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which will be linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

P.S. They are announcing the winners of the Biannual Bibliothon blogging challenges, and I won the day 1 + 3 challenges so I will link those down below for you to check out!

Last Blog Post: February TBR!

Biannual Bibliothon Day 1: Biannual Bibliothon Day 1 – Winter Snow Storm Fun

Biannual Bibliothon Day 3:  Biannual Bibliothon Day 3 – Bookish Mad Libs

 

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February TBR!

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January came and went in a flash, and now it’s already February! While February is only 28 days long this year, I still plan on getting lots and lots of reading done as to stay on top of my 70 book reading goal so I picked out a good mixture of shorter books. Anyways, here are some of the books I plan on reading this month.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen 

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There is a Jane Austen related scholarship I really want to apply for, and for it, you have to read Northanger Abbey and then write about it. Since I read Pride and Prejudice last month, I’m looking forward to continuing on with Jane Austen’s work and finally jumping on the bandwagon! I have no idea what this one is about, but I hope I like it as much as I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice because then it will be so much easier to write a good paper on it.

The Oresteia by Aeschylus

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Yes, I am continuing my Greek tragedy exploration and next up on my list is The Oresteia. No idea what it is about, but it is quite a bit longer than the other ones I’ve read (Oedipus, Antigone, Medea, etc). I am curious to see how much I like it in comparison to the other plays and also in comparison to the other authors! I’m trying to read these tragedies and then write written responses for them since I know that is what I am doing for classes next year. Also, for some odd reason, I enjoy doing it.

Notes From a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker

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For my writing class, I need to read a creative non-fiction book and then write a really short response to it, so I decided to pick up Notes From a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker. It looks like a really enlightening and fun read, so I am really looking forward to diving right into it in February. It addresses a lot of important topics in our society like gender, rape culture, and just everyday life. Also, Wunker is Canadian and I always love supporting my fellow Canadians so yay!

Hamlet by Shakespeare

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Currently, we are reading this in my English class and I can definitely say I enjoy Greek tragedy more than Shakespeare. Is that an unpopular opinion? Who actually enjoys Shakespeare? Anyways, we are only 2/5 acts into it so I thought I’d add onto my February TBR. As always, it has the usual formula of betrayal, revenge, and romance so I know it will be everything I expect it to be.

Wow, looking back at all of these books I realize how different they are compared to all of my other TBRs in the past. This one is full of classics, Greek tragedy and even some creative non-fiction which I don’t read too often. I’m looking forward to a little change in my reading taste though, and I hope you enjoyed seeing what I plan on reading this coming month! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: How To: Read for English Class

 

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How To: Read for English Class

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This year, I’ve learned a LOT about reading from my English class (it’s a 12th grade and first-year university English class put together), and I wanted to share all the tips I’ve gathered with all of you today! Anyways, here are a few simple but effective tips for getting the most out of each book you read for English, both for your class and personally.

Tip #1: Read As Many of Your Required Readings As Possible

If you have the time, read as many books on your required reading as possible. This is a little easier to do in university since they give you a syllabus, but some high school teachers will tell you what you’re reading each year. If not, it is actually pretty easy to guess what you’re going to read. For example, I knew I was going to read Hamlet this year because that’s what I’ve been told since grade 9. Anyways, it will save you a lot of stress so instead of cramming to finish a book for class in only like a week, you’ll already have an idea about it and only need to skim. Since I’m starting the first year of my English degree next year (if I get in but I’m being hopeful), I searched up as many syllabuses for them as I could find, and found that I will be reading Frankenstein, The Tempest (which, I’ve already read), and a few others that I plan on attempting to read this summer just to make life a little easier next year.

Tip #2: Annotate!

Whether you want to write in the book (make sure it’s your own) or use stickies to keep track of important things, annotating will be your key to success when writing papers. Whether you know the topic of your paper that’s in response to the book you’re reading or not, sticky the important things like turns in the plot, quotes that contribute to the theme, mood, character, etc, and anything that hints at the overall theme of the story. If you have a notebook you want to write out your annotations in, that will be really helpful too!

Tip #3: Read Scholarly Essays 

I’ve been reading a lot of Greek tragedies lately, and I ended up also picking up this book called Oxford Readings in Greek Tragedy, and it has been really helpful when it comes to analyzing and understanding each play. I picked up this book because I plan on doing a few Greek and Roman classes, one of them being Greek Tragedy so I’m just preparing for the future. There are a lot of amazing scholarly essays online that you can read and it helps you to form your own opinion on whatever you are reading by comparing it with others, so I highly recommend checking some out!

Tip #4: Think About Theme

One thing my teacher told me about when it comes to reading as an English student, is that there are three levels of a reader: 1) The beginning reader who focuses and then writes about obvious things like plot and character 2) The experienced reader focuses and then writes about things like mood and irony 3) And the advanced reader focuses and then writes about narrative point of view and theme. This is really important to keep in mind and I hope it adjusts how you approach your reading!

Those are my 4 main tips on how to read like an English student, and I hope they were helpful! Let me know any tips you have when it comes to being an English student because I’m always looking for more ways to improve my reading and writing. Anyways, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Queen Book Tag! (Original)

 

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Queen Book Tag! (Original)

Happy Monday!

I thought it was time to create another reading tag, and since I love the band Queen, I decided to make it Queen-themed. I am so excited to answer these questions, and I hope you guys do as well so if you do this tag, make sure to tag me so I can see all your great answers! Anyways, onto the questions:

1. Bohemian Rhapsody – Name a Book With An Unexpected Twist

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Bohemian Rhapsody is Queen’s most iconic song because of how different and unexpected it was, so for this question, I want you to name a book that’s plot took you by surprise. For this, I’m going to have to go with Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. I won’t say what exactly was unexpected, but if you’ve read it, you probably know what I’m talking about…

2. Save Me – Name a Book That You Haven’t Gotten Over Yet

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Save Me is about how people deal with a break-up, so what book have you still not gotten over yet? Again, sorry for repeating, but I’m going to have to say Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare. That book was just so long (912 pages) that when you finally finish it, it feels out of the ordinary to not be reading it. Plus, it was the last book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, my favourite trilogy, so of course, I haven’t gotten over it yet!

3. Under Pressure – Nae a Book That You Feel Pressured To Read

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While I’m enjoying it, I did feel obligated to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is a classic, and a book a lot of people love. I felt like I had to read it (I’m almost done it), along with a lot of other classics I’ve recently finished or am reading, to make myself seem like a more diverse and “real” reader. Again, I only read books I like, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of pressure to explore the classics.

4. Love of My Life – Name a Book That Really Is, The Love of Your Life

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Cassandra Clare’s name is on here a LOT, but that’s because I love SO many of her books. For this one, I’m going to have to say that Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare is really the love of my life. It’s so amazing, setting the trilogy up for even more amazingness since it’s the first book in the trilogy, and ugh, every time I read it I’m just happy.

5. Don’t Stop Me Now – Name a Book That You Can Read In One Sitting

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell!!! While this book is over 400 pages, I could easily, if given the time, sit down and read it in only one sitting. It is so addictive and easy to read, with a story that makes me warm and fuzzy inside. It reads like a movie kind of because I can easily imagine all of these characters speaking their dialogue too me and that makes the book so much better.

6. Another One Bites the Dust – Name a Book That You DNFed

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I’m going to go with the last book I DNFed which I believe, was Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. It wasn’t that I hated this book, it was that I found it really difficult to imagine the scenes before me in my head, and also I didn’t feel connected to anything in the book. Not the characters, the world, the plot, nothing. I do want to give it another try sometime because I thought I was going to really like this book, but at the time I tried to read it, it just wasn’t working.

7. I Want to Break Free – Name a Book That Should Have Been a Standalone

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Honestly, I would have been satisfied enough with The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy being a standalone instead of part of a trilogy because, I’m sorry, but the last two books weren’t great at all. He would have had to fix some things to make it work, but it would have been easy enough to tie everything up in The Fifth Wave to make it a standalone. The second and third book included too many POVs, most which I didn’t like, and the plot was sooo boring that I couldn’t even finish the second one. I tried jumping into the third one to see what would happen, but I ran into the same issues and ended up spoiling myself on purpose.

8. Killer Queen – Name the Book That Got You Into Reading

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Killer Queen was Queen’s first big hit, so I thought this question was appropriate to the song. I’ve mentioned this numerous times on my blog, but I’m happy to say it again because I love hearing about what books got people into reading! For me, it was Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Of course, I read little chapter books before reading this one, but this was the book that introduced me into middle grade/YA and was the first book series I became absolutely obsessed with for like two years. I found this book when I was 10 and didn’t even try any other book until I was 12…that was how much I loved it.

9. We Are the Champions – Name An Underrated Book You Love

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A lot of people do love this book, but I just think it deserves more praise that it gets. It is such a relatable and important book for those with anxiety, especially social anxiety, and that is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. I looove this book and could read it over and over again. Not only is the anxiety portion really nice to relate to, but overall, the book has amazing plot and characters as well!

10. We Will Rock You – Name a Book Everyone Has Heard Of

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I could go with the simple answer to this which is Harry Potter, but instead, I am going to say Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi because that was by far the most hyped book of last year. I also have yet to read it, but everywhere I go, I see that book and it screams at me to read it so I will definitely get to it soon!

11. Now I’m Here – Name An Anticipated Release Of Yours That Just Came Out

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The last anticipated release of mine that came out was Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, and that was on December 2nd, 2018. That was by far, my most anticipated release of the year and my 2019 anticipated releases don’t start coming out until January 29th so I’m going to have to answer QoAaD again! If you want to find out what my 2019 releases are, check out my blog post for it HERE.

12. The Show Must Go On – Name a Book (Series or Standalone) That Ended, But That You Want Another Book From

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I haven’t read The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan in forever and a bit, but I remember wanting more. There was something that didn’t make it feel like an ending which is kind of understandable considering we do see these characters in the Magnus Chase series and also the Trials of Apollo series. Still, I could always read more from the Heroes of Olympus series.

Last Blog Post: Biannual Bibliothon Day 6 – Reading By the Fire 101

 

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Biannual Bibliothon Day 6 – Reading By the Fire 101

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Happy day 6 of the Biannual Bibliothon!

Not going to lie…I completely forgot to write a reading update for day 3&4 but that’s okay because I didn’t get much done (hahaha go me). Anyways, today’s blog host is Jacqueline from EvilQueenBooksBlog and she wants us to tell her what books we think would be perfect fireside reads. This challenge sounds so cozy and it makes me want to curl up by the fire and read…even though I don’t have a fire to do that with. But anyway, I decided that along with picking 5 books to read, I would share some tips on how to have the perfect reading time next to a fire.

STEP ONE: Choose Your Books

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

I had to throw a Harry Potter book in here because are they not the most perfect side reads? The fourth book is my favourite as of right now in the series because it’s long and a little bit of a different plot structure than her other books. When I close my eyes, I can definitely imagine myself by the warm and crackling fire, swaddled in a blanket and cracking open this amazing book.

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Not only would this be a great fireside read because it always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, but it is also one of those books I can finish in one sitting. This book is relatable, funny, adorable, awkward, and a whole lot of fun to read!

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The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

The atmosphere in this novel is cozy enough on its own that I wouldn’t even need a fire to read by. The story would do a well off job heating me up on a cold, cold day. This contemporary-fantasy book takes place in dreary ol’ London, the best place, I think personally, to cuddle up next to a fire. Well, actually right now in Canada a fire sounds great too but you get what I mean!

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Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

I have yet to read this book, which is the third installment in the Eleanor’s Home for Wayward Children series (will be reading it this readathon though!). I loved the first two books and cannot wait to dive into the next one. These books are so incredibly short (this one being under 150 pages),  and that along with their addictive, fast-paced storylines, makes them great fireside reads.

 

STEP TWO: Make Yummy Drinks/Snacks

This is a very important step. Are you going to make some delicious, rich hot chocolate? Steep some green tea or brew some coffee to keep you awake whilst reading? Maybe you’re a little hungry and need something to snack on. Well, now is the time to figure that all out! Personally, I would love nothing more than to snuggle up with a good book and some hot chocolate right now.

STEP THREE: Atmosphere

This is also crucial to your fireside reading experience. The atmosphere must be the ultimate cozy atmosphere, but how do you accomplish that? Well, let me tell you: blankets (specifically fuzzy ones, but any old blanket will do), mood lighting (if the fire isn’t enough light to read, light some candles or if your lights can adjust to different settings, perfect), and of course, seating (are you going to sit on the ground next to the fire, or on a chair? This is important to figure out people!).

STEP FOUR: READ

One important thing to remember while reading by fire is too NOT PUT YOUR BOOK IN THE FIRE. Whether it is intentional (for who knows what reason. Maybe the book is really bad) or accidental, books do not belong in fires. If you are a particularly clumsy person, adjust yourself so there is no way your book can accidentally fall out of your hands because let’s be honest, that would ruin step 3, and it’s all about the atmosphere.

Those are 4 books I would love to snuggle up and read by the fire, along with a “Reading By the Fire For Dummies” step-by-step guide! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as all my other Biannual Bibliothon blog challenges, and make sure you check out my social media accounts linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: 

Biannual Bibliothon Day 1 – Winter Snow Storm Fun

Biannual Bibliothon Day 2 – Christmas Party

Reading + Writing Update – Biannual Bibliothon 2019 Day 1 & 2

Biannual Bibliothon Day 3 – Bookish Mad Libs

Biannual Bibliothon Day 4 – Clickbait Challenge

Biannual Bibliothon Day 5 – Winter Trips

 

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