Not a Monthly Wrap-Up

I haven’t posted a monthly wrap-up this summer because it feels…inconsiderate? frivolous? unimportant? with everything else that’s going on. When Black people are asking to be seen and heard and valued, it feels inconsequential to post about what books I’ve read lately. Instead, I’d like to share this powerful video from NPR. In it, the descendants of Frederick Douglass read portions of his speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Written in 1852, the speech is (frustratingly) relevant to this moment in time. Douglass calls out the hypocrisy of how Americans freed themselves from the oppression of the British Crown, only to enslave others. 

It’s not just WordPress where I’ve been silent this summer. I haven’t posted on Instagram or Facebook either. Every day, I’m learning something new about racial inequality, defunding the police, or amplifying Black voices, and my words don’t seem as necessary.   

I think reading has made me an empathetic person. I’ve walked around in lots of shoes and it’s hard to deny someone’s truth when you’ve gotten to know them. But being an empathetic person can leave you exhausted lately. I can’t understand why people seem so clueless to the circumstances of others. Whether it’s a refusal to wear a mask to protect one another, people who are adamant about proclaiming ‘All Lives Matter’ or ‘Blue Lives Matter’ when faced with ideas that make them uncomfortable, to leadership that values the stock market more than people’s lives, I’m bothered by the lack of empathy many people have shown.

Frederick Douglass seems to be searching for empathy in his listeners as well. Even as he commends Americans for standing up to their oppressors, he urges his audience to see that Black Americans have not been extended the same freedoms. Instead, “Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common. — The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fathers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth [of] July is yours, not mine.” This Fourth of July feels different to me, but I’m afraid that for many other people, it will only feel different because fireworks and parades have been cancelled. While I’m annoyed by the lack of empathy, I remain hopeful that real progress and change will come about. Quarantining has given a lot of people time to stop and think. Instead of just going along with something because that’s the way we’ve always done it, there’s time to question, and learn, and make better decisions.   

So fellow bloggers and readers, I’m curious to know about your social media use lately. Have you changed the way you’re posting content this summer? Are you more aware of the news and mindful of the bigger picture? Does your usual feel meaningful?  

Wrapping up November

Thanks so much for stopping by my little corner of the web this month. I’ve gained new followers and found new blogs to follow myself. I’ve blogged from my cell phone – new for me – and blogged from an airport and a different country. While NaBloPoMo can be stressful as I put pressure on myself to churn out way more content than usual, I’m always glad that I participated.

Other November Stats:

  • Read 3 books:
    • Juliet Takes a Breath
    • Holding up the Universe
    • From Twinkle, With Love
  • Started 3 other books (but their lending periods ended before I could complete them):
    • They Both Die at the End
    • The Ensemble
    • Strange the Dreamer
  • Gained 16 new followers
  • Had web visitors from 38 different countries
  • My post “Casting To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” continues to be my most popular post, with 97 views this month alone
  • 14,577 words published in November
  • Saw Hanson’s String Theory concert in Minneapolis
  • Threw a Wonder Woman themed 4th birthday party
  • Spent a week in Mexico

Not too shabby for 30 days! Hope your month was productive and fulfilling, and that we continue to see each other around the blogosphere.

May your holiday season be filled with lots of books and blessings.

10 Posts I Wish Had More Views

When I started this blog in October of 2013, I was hesitant to make it public. I wasn’t really sure if I had anything to say, and I was nervous about people reading and perhaps even *gasp* commenting on what I wrote. What I soon found out though, was that the blogging community is pretty friendly and supportive. While my best viewership has occurred during NaBloPoMo the last two years, here are a few posts I’ve written that I wish had made more of an impression.

 

  • ALL OF MY CHAOS WALKING POSTS:
    • Casting Chaos Walking 
    • The Next Must Read Series
    • One of the Best (or Worst?) Literary VillainsPatrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series, which includes The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men, is simply incredible. I went into the books knowing nothing about the series and ravenously read through the three books (and three short ebooks). I was blown away by the concept, the characters (including a conniving, manipulative villain), the action, and the message. I’m not sure why this 2008 – 2010 series hasn’t gotten more hype. However, that may change soon now that there is a 2019 film version in the works.     

 

  • Finding Inspiration in the Finger Perhaps my title didn’t draw people in, but I think the novel Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles deserves some more attention. Has anyone ever “flipped you the bird?” How did it make you feel? Knowles explores how different characters react to “the finger.” Could a single gesture have an impact on the rest of their day? How about their whole outlook?

 

  • Entry #22 – Favorite Book Well, of course I want more people to check out this post! It’s all about my most favorite book. I was hoping to hear that someone else in the blogoshpere was a fan of this book too.

 

  • Voldemort Likes My HairCome on, that’s a funny title! This blog post details a strange dream I had while re-reading the Harry Potter series. I originally read the books back when they were published and had never re-read them. It was amazing to see how much I had forgotten about the books. Sure, the movies are great, but boy, does J.K. Rowling know how to write.

 

  • A Second Look at Allegiant I was one of the many readers who was disappointed with the third book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. After re-reading this book (after quite some time had passed), I didn’t dislike it quite so much… Maybe it will inspire other fans to take a second look at the book as well.

 

  • A Love Story for the Ages perhaps the title of this post turned some readers off, but Paullina Simon’s three book series following Alexander and Tatiana is epic and should be read. While everyone else was reading 50 Shades of Gray, I was reading The Bronze Horseman – a love story that starts at the beginning of WWII during the siege of Leningrad – which doesn’t sound sexy, but guess what? The book is definitely swoon-worthy.  

 

  • John Green? No thanks.For someone who really enjoys reading Young Adult literature, I should be a John Green fan. While I enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars (not super-fan status, but it was a solid four-star read), after reading three other of his books, I’m left wondering what all the fuss is about. The pretentious, unlikable characters means I have no need to read any more of his books.

 

  • Current Read: I’ll Give You the SunI’m hoping that the reason why this post didn’t get many reads was because everyone already read I’ll Give You the Sun and knew that it was fantastic!

 

Fellow bloggers: Do you have any posts that you wish had gotten more views? Feel free to post a link in the comment section.

Here Come the Posts!

Know why I’m excited for NaBloPoMo? Because I get to post more times in one month than I do all year! I posted a pitiful 11 times since NaBloPoMo 2016 wrapped up.

Here’s some of what I’ve been up to:

  • Family trip to Puerto Vallarta and Merida, Mexico, in March
  • Grown-up trip to Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekend to see J.Lo in concert
  • Spending time with family in Minnesota in July
  • Family trip to Los Angeles at the end of July to attend a quinceanera and Disneyland
  • Smaller trips to visit my parents, who live 2 ½ hours away
  • Working once or twice a week at my tutoring center, plus doing some editing work from home
  • Attending a mommy and me dance class on Wednesday nights
  • Recuperating from back-to-school colds and post-vacation colds!
  • Visiting the library every two weeks or so
  • Throwing a Shimmer and Shine birthday party for my three year old
  • Keeping a toddler who doesn’t nap occupied for 14 hours a day!

This November, I hope to fill my blog with bookish posts – everything from reviews, to quotes, to dream casts, and maybe even some toddler book recommendations. I look forward to reading other bloggers’ posts, too. Stick around and let’s share some book love!  

NaBloPoMo Wrap-Up

nablopomowrapupThe only NaBloPoMo post I missed was on the very final day! Sort of silly, I know, but we were flying from Mexico to Atlanta to Milwaukee, so it was a long and busy day. When I started NaBloPoMo on November first, I did not have very high hopes for completing the challenge, so I did much better than anticipated.

By the numbers:

  • 306 views
  • 89 likes
  • 27 comments
  • 206 visitors from 29 different countries
  • 10 new followers
    • This is not a big number for some bloggers, but considering I have less than 160 followers, 10 is a lot! 10 more people found something in common with what I was posting and liked my site enough to want to read more. Thanks!

The month really seemed to fly by (especially since we vacationed in Mexico for six days at the end of the month), so I didn’t even feel like I had time to accomplish all the goals I had envisioned for myself on the first day of the month. That’s okay though. I revived an old work-in-progress, posted thirty times, commented on other people’s blogs, and jumped back into blogging. It was also rather comforting to read that a lot of other people all over the country were just as shocked and dismayed as I was about the election results. It will be interesting to see how this all looks next November.

NaBloPoMo was just the creative boost I needed to wrap up 2016. Now, it’s time for Christmas shopping, decorating for the holidays, and spending time with family and friends. Thanks again for taking the time to check out my blog this month.  

How was your NaBloPoMo 2016 experience?

Reviving My Blog Goals

imageIt was 70 degrees today. On November 17th. In Wisconsin! My daughter and I played outside at a park. Without coats on. Did I mention we live in Wisconsin? It was too beautiful today to spend time on my computer, so it’ll be a short post.

During last year’s NaBloPoMo, I came up with a list of goals for my blog. Looking back at that list…I failed miserably. I think the only one I succeeded at was creating a new web banner.

So today, I updated my About page. Now I completed two things on my list! Please check it out and tell me what you think.

The rest of the goals still feel relevant to me, so I will continue working on this list. Hopefully I’ll have a few more of them completed by the next time NaBloPoMo rolls around!

One Year Blogiversary

one_year

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I started blogging. Based on the failed journals and diaries of my past, I thought it was something I’d try, but wouldn’t succeed at. I’m proud of myself for really giving the blog a chance—even during the summer slump.

Looking at the stats, I’ve been visited by 675 viewers in 18 different countries and have almost 80 followers. While these numbers may seem small to some bloggers, I’m absolutely amazed! I’m glad I was able to post about topics that other people cared about as well. My top blog posts of the year were:

  1. No Love for Allegiant
  2. Banned Books Week 2014
  3. Literary (Temporary) Tattoos
  4. Entry #14 – Dream Cast
  5. Entry #1 – Where Your Books Live

Thanks to all of you in the blogosphere who have taken the time to stop by my blog. I appreciate the support.