September Wrap Up

It has been a hard month adjusting to being back to school and sticking to my blogging schedule – and on top of all this I have been sick for the past 2 weeks !

However, even with some setbacks I still think I have had a pretty productive month. So, let’s see how well I handled my goals.

I have not yet viewed my goals/achievements until writing this right now so that my reactions to how I handled my monthly goals are sincere and unprepared.

Reading Goals

I DID IT! YES, first goal achieved. It was my easiest goal for sure, but I celebrate all achievements – even the smaller ones.

I wanted to read a few more books since August was strictly dedicated to reading IT.

This month I was able to read:
The Giver – Lois Lowry (review here)
Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom (review here)
Everything I Never Told You (review coming soon)
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara (in progress)
Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel – Mira Tudor (in progress)

Definitely conquered more than one book this month!

Blog Goals

YES ANOTHER GOAL ! This is going great so far.

Although I have often had to push dates of my scheduled posts because I have been sick or wrapped up in school, I have still managed to be more active on my blog. Now that I understand the time and effort I need to reach my deadlines for my scheduled posts I can apply that next month and increase my frequency and timing again!

Bookstagram Goals

@thebayreads

3 for 3 so far!! My first goal this month involving my bookstagram was to test out a theme and try to make a pattern when I take my pictures. I have chosen a soft, faded, and orange color filter for my photos which I felt was appropriate for autumn. In addition to that, if you have noticed I also began to try to have some consistency in how I take my pictures. I take my TBR pile held in my hand against a solid color wall, my book reviews are always stood up in front of my bookshelf, bookhauls are spread out on my mat, and the rest of my photos usually have a white background. I am not sure if this is exactly the theme I am always going to stick to, but it works for now.

Oh no.. first goal not achieved.. 

I intended to communicate more with my followers by using instagram stories more frequently. This is my own fault, I have had plenty of opportunities to do this I just have not went out of my way to do it. This will definitely be something I will improve on in October – you have my word!

Journal Goals

Okay I achieved it, but I would only say barely. 

I have definitely dedicated more time to my journals and planners, but most of this is because I am in school and absolutely need to. My more personal journals and planners have still been slightly neglected. I am making progress, however I need to focus more on this in October.

Writing Goals

My weak point for sure.

I neglected writing this month, big time. I have to make time for it if I ever want to make progress with my writing. I will not act like September has been all that horrible for my writing because I have been thinking more about types of writing I can do, and out for a walk the other day I felt inspired and even typed up a little something in my phone!

Overall

This month was successful, I definitely achieved some goals and made progress on others even if I didn’t reach the exact point I wanted to be. Balancing my time is one of my biggest issues and will definitely be my focus for October. Stay tuned for October’s monthly goals!

 

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I Got Mail!!

Pop-up post because I received my first bookish related mail from arguably my favorite blogger I follow : JD at Studious Creatives

I love their blog because the posts explore a variety of different things and each is so creative in their own way. The blog explores reading, writing, journals, art, and anything related. I urge all my readers to check it out!

So let me introduce the what, how, when, and why of this mail !

Near the end of August JD hosted a bookmark giveaway which involved reader’s to choose their favorite and comment why (the post can be found here). As soon as I seen the bookmark titled “Be Still in the Chaos” it spoke to me, so I commented:

"I love the be still in the chaos with the intertwined roads, I just 
finished an internship and graduated from university and I have so many 
different directions I can go with different people pressuring me to go 
different ways so I definitely relate. Feels like I’m in the middle of a 
busy intersection and I don’t know which way is the way home."

I received the bookmark in the mail just recently and I love it even more than the first time I seen the design. AND THIS WASN’T EVEN THE BEST PART, I also received a handwritten letter addressed to me and words cannot explain how appreciative I am.

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This is the first mail I have received from another blogger and it just shows how fortunate I am to be able to communicate with people all around the world. It inspires me to continue blogging and to become more involved with other bloggers, and I hope to one day hold my own giveaway and make someone happy like JD has done for me.

I love blogging, but to know that it also opportunities to connect with other people makes it worth while.

Thank you so much, JD. Your blog, and now your kindness and generosity will continue to inspire me!

Alexx

September TBR

August was dedicated to reading IT by Stephen King even though I managed to get a couple more quick reads in before the month was over. For September, I am going to push my limits and try to conquer a few “shorter” reads and to at least get started with A Little Life. A few of these on my September TBR are a part of my 2017 must-reads I posted about earlier: you can read about that here

On this months TBR list is: Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
This is a book I have been wanting to read since highschool, I had the option to read this or The Hobbit for an English course and I chose The Hobbit. About 4 years later I am finally getting around to this read.

The Giver – Lois Lowry
I have seen this read all over my social media feeds and one of my friends is reading it now. I hope it is worth all the hype!

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
I snagged this book at a book fair for 2 dollars! I had no idea what this book was about or if it would be worth the read, but after buying it I started to see it pop up on my social media feeds which made me excited to read it!

Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom
– 
I have been wanting to read this book forever, but I wanted to wait until I had enough free time to really take my time and enjoy it. The concept is similar to the book The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch which I really enjoyed. Being 21 and just finishing university I really appreciate hearing about life experiences and advice from others. I will probably start this month with this read!

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
This book has been everywhere! I have only seen praise and excitement for this read. It is a bit longer of a book so I am not expecting to have it finished by the end of the month, but I am hoping to be well into it by then.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman (not pictured ebook)*
I have already started this one, but I only really use my ereader when I am doing cardio at the gym so ebooks take me a little longer to finish. I am already really enjoying this read I love the suspense and creative characters so far. 


Have you read any of these?

September Goals

At the beginning of each month I have decided to set out a list of goals that involve reading, blogging, my bookstagram, journals and writing. I will outline those every month and then share my process with a wrap up at the end!


Reading Goals

  • Tackle more reads this month since August was dedicated to reading IT by Stephen King (TBR to be announced tomorrow).

Blog Goals

  • Increase my amount and frequency of my posts which will be achieved through my book reviews, TBRs, book hauls, discussions, pop up posts, and my newly introduced Me, Myself, & Mondays.

Bookstagram Goals

  • I have introduced a “theme” for the fall months, I am testing out how to take pictures and edit them in order to meet certain standards to fit my given theme
  • Communicate better with my followers through instagram stories

Journal Goals

  • Start faithfully using my planners and bullet journal because I tend to neglect it and then try to play catch up. I want to make it a daily ritual to journal/plan.

Writing Goals

  • Keep a notebook on hand in which I can write down any ideas that come to me
  • Possibly successfully write a short story

 

Here it is, my big September plans. I like to set goals and sometimes I go a little too far, so to start I have made realistic small, but signficant goals. Hopefully I can commit this month to achieving these and then aim higher in October!

New Blog Segment !!

Introducing…

Me, Myself, & Mondays

My first blog “installation” is a work in progress. I wanted to start small in order to learn how to manage scheduled posts and follow a theme on my blog.

From here on out on Monday of each week I will publish a post that has a personal touch to it. I will keep it literature related for the most part, but sometimes I will just give a little dose of me!

Me, Myself, and Mondays will allow me to have a little fun with my weekly posts as well as give my reader’s a little more insight into the person I am. On top of being able to interact more personally with my blog, I am able to start really giving my blog a structure in order to build a solid base and continue to grow!

I am also open to taking any requests for post ideas!!

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) by Oscar Wilde

★★★☆☆ 3/5

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.” -Goodreads


Classics/Fiction/Horror – can be read in a few days

Written in Old English language, this read was not only entertaining for the story, the brilliant quotes worded beautifully are reason enough to give this book a try. Lord Henry had many wise words about life, I couldn’t even pick a favorite quote.

I was tempted to give it 4 stars, however there was a stretch in the book where I was very confused and missed a significant amount of time. I was still able to understand the general plot of the story, but it did impact my rating of the book. I’m sure if I reread this book I would be able to appreciate it much more.

REGARDLESS – IT IS A MASTERPIECE. 

I definitely had the homosexual vibe from Basil which contributed to the controversy over this book.

In the book Basil keeps emphasizing that he feels he have put too much of himself into the portrait he painted of Dorian, this could be Oscar Wilde’s metaphor for how he has put much of himself into this book when he references that each character is semi autobiographical

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.”

"Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul."
"Youth is one thing worth having."
"Humanity takes itself too seriously. It is the world's original sin. If the
caveman had known had to laugh, History would have been different."

 

 

 

The Martian (2011) by Andy Weir

★★★★★ 5/5

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetAfter a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. – Goodreads

 

 

 


Science Fiction / <500 Pages / Medium Difficulty read – because of the science aspect.

I couldn’t resist giving this 5 stars, I am a huge space nerd and I am doing an undergraduate degree in Geology – so I loved every minute of this read.

I seen a book about an astronaut, of course I had to buy it. I snagged it at a huge book fair for just two dollars!

Yes, there is a huge science aspect to this story, but it is not long winded and it is explained in simple terms. I think that even if you do not have a strong background in science that you can enjoy this book if science interests you at all!

I was in suspense the whole read. I loved how funny Mark Watney was, I’m glad I read this story from a character who was hopeful, innovative, and hilarious. If I would of had to read this from a character who was complaining or felt doomed the whole time, well I probably wouldn’t of read very much.

The novel is set up into astronaut logs and conferences at NASA, the set up makes the read flow great and builds suspense.

This read was perfect for me.

"Mars is a barren wasteland and I am completely alone here. I already knew
that, of course. But there is a difference between knowing it and really experiencing it. 
All around me there was nothing but dust, rocks, and endless empty desert in 
all directions. The planet's famous red color is from iron oxide coating everything. 
So it's not just a desert. It's a desert so old it's literally rusting."

 

June’s To Be Read List

I have a few books I would like to get through during June (I think I can, I think I can)

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On this list is …

Carrie by Stephen King – This will be my first Stephen King and horror read, I am so excited. 

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin – I have already started this book, I am going to aim to finish it this month so I can start back on Tools of Titans! Need all the self help I can get. 

Hunting Humans by Elliot Leyton – This book is for school, however it is definitely going to be an interesting read since it revolves around serial killers. 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – I have been waiting to read this book F O R E V E R. 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This book is all over my social media feeds, safe to say that I am intrigued. 

*Not pictured: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- I am currently reading this on my kobo, I use this most at the gym. It is about time I read this classic. 

Any suggestions for July? 

Book Order From May

finally made it out home to receive my book order in the mail, thanks Indigo bookstores!!

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I have always wanted to read Stephen King, I actually have had Bag of Bones home for a while, however I was always recommended to read The Shining and Carrie first. A Monster Calls has been alllll over my social media feeds, it has a lot of hype and I hope it lives up to my expectations.

I have never read horror, and as of 2017 I haven’t read much fantasy. When ordering these books – because there was a sale – I figured it was the perfect opportunity to add these genres to my TBR.

They all also tie in with my ongoing theme of reading books that are movies – more about that later ..


Have you read any of these? What did you think?

The Book Thief (2005) by Markus Zusak

★★★★★ 5/5

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetIt is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up an object, partially hidden in the snow. It is ‘The Gravedigger’s Handbook,’ and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down. – Goodreads


Historical Fiction / WWII / Classics / >500 pages / Takes time, but an easy read 

The author has 3 ways to win you over, introducing the narrator as death interests you from the start, the unique and fun writing style keeps the read interesting, and then once the story unfolds you are bound to fall in love with the characters and the story consumes you.

I have seen praises for this book all over social media, and then my cousin recommended it to me so it was on my TBR list for a while. I found someone selling it for 5 DOLLARS so I just had to

LOVE historical fiction, and I am fascinated with world war II. However, you don’t need to be a history fanatic to follow this story. Of course, Hitler’s influence at this time in Germany is important to the setting, but the story itself can be followed and loved just with that general knowledge and any extra historical information the author may provide. If you are not a fan of history, you can definitely still enjoy this book.

My favorite aspect of this book is the point of view in history. Often when reading about WWII whether it be fiction or  non-fiction, it is from the point of view of the Jewish victims, or the Allied powers. There is not usually stories told from a German perspective, especially not German civilians. This story is important for showing the perspective of the people who lived in Germany at this time in history, and reminding everyone that there were still good people.

For me, this book reminding me to have faith in humanity, because even in the worst of times, there are still good people.

"You don't always get what you wish for. Especially in Nazi Germany."