Bookish posts

The Art of The DNF: Why It’s so Hard to Abandon Books And How to Deal With it

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Let me paint a – probably – very familiar picture for you: You see a book. You read a little bit about the book. You might scroll through the reviews, and see some people raving about it. Your friend tells you that you need to read this book. So you do. You start it. You get 50, maybe a 100 pages in. And you’re just not feeling it. 

So you kinda want to quit. But at the same time, you really really don’t want to quit. you might feel this weird sense of guilt. I know I do.

Soooo.. What do you do? Do you finish the book because dangit, you’re not a quitter? Or do you decide that this book that you’re just not feeling, is not worth your time when your TBR is already never ending?

Feeling Guilty About DNF’ing

There are a couple of reasons why you might feel guilty for abandoning a book. If you spend your hard-earned money on it, you want to get your money’s worth! But there is another reason that I find very interesting, and that is that allowing yourself to DNF a book might be an acknowledgement of your own limitations. Especially if it’s some kind of classic that is just hard for you to get through, and you feel like it’s the type of book that you ‘should’ read.

For the longest time, I never DNF’d books. I hated quitting a book. I was not a quitter. I would push through no matter what. Abandoning a book felt like giving up. But gradually, as my TBR pile kept growing and my days got busier and busier, DNF’ing became a little easier. I realized how little time I actually had, and that I wanted to use that time to read books I actually enjoyed. Continue reading “The Art of The DNF: Why It’s so Hard to Abandon Books And How to Deal With it”

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Poetry

Poetry Review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace

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Title: The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One (Women are Some Kind of Magic #2)
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Pages: 208 pages
Genre: poetry, feminism
Publication date: March 6th, 2018

The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

2016 Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet Amanda Lovelace returns in the witch doesn’t burn in this one — the second book in her “women are some kind of magic” poetry series. The collection of poetry deals with heavy subjects like misogyny, abuse, body issues and rape. But also with self-love and intersectionality, all while using the imagery of witch trials to portray to oppression of women. Schermafbeelding 2018-01-19 om 16.37.24

I liked how the author used witch trials as a metaphor since the horrific events themselves are a very fitting portrayal of how women were murdered for not falling in line, to the point of being accused of being witches. It’s a recurring theme within this collection and, while every single poem is definitely it’s own work, makes it really feel like you’re reading a collection of poetry that all fit together.

I really loved some of the poems. Especially the poems in the first two chapters, called the trial and the burning, evoked emotions in me. I enjoyed the longer, slightly more complex poems. My favorites are the ones about eating disorders and body acceptance, like the one I decided to share here.  Continue reading “Poetry Review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace”

Bookish posts · personal

My Weird Reading Habit: Why (And How!) I Annotate My Books

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I used to treat my books like sacred beings. And it was normal, most other booklovers I know were this way. They are these precious, beautiful vessels that hold a story that we must protect with our lives. They give us so much, so the least we can do is to keep them clean and perfect.

But.. it’s exhausting. The whole keeping your books pristine thing is exhausting. It got to the point where I would feel nervous putting books in my backpack and would have to carry them in my hands so I could keep my eyes on them at all times. I would make sure tables were totally clean before I set them down, and it was just so impractical.

So, I just kind of stopped caring. I started breaking the spines of my paperbacks (it’s much more comfortable to read that way), dog-earing the pages and.. writing in them. And I love the way it looks. Every single page that I read has been ingrained in the book itself. For me, a read book doesn’t only tell the story that’s printed in the book, but also the story of how the reader read the book.

Why I annotate my books

I already mentioned this above, but I love making the book my own. By annotating a book in one way or another, I’m having an active conversation with the author and I’m transferring some of the thoughts I had in a specific moment onto the pages. That way, I can look back and see what I had thought the first time I read something. It’s a way to see how I first experienced the story.

I love seeing how my thoughts have evolved upon rereading the book later. I might think about a passage in a certain way now, but future me could totally disagree with past me! In a way, my book notes are my literary flow chart. It shows how I’ve grown and matured as a person.  Continue reading “My Weird Reading Habit: Why (And How!) I Annotate My Books”

personal · Travel

Why You Should Visit The Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona

I like cemeteries, I’ve always been fascinated by them. Whenever I travel to a new city, I always like to visit at least one cemetery; it’s a way for me to acknowledge significant events of the past related to that city.

When I went to Barcelona, my boyfriend and I visited the Cementiri de Montjuïc, one of the most beautiful cemeteries I have ever visited.

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The History

The cemetery opened in 1883 and is located on one of the rocky slopes on the Montjuïc hill in Barcelona. The use of the 56-hectare space on the side of Montjuïc Hill was part of an initiative to expand and improve the city, which was growing exponentially at that point. The chief designer of the cemetery was architect Leandro Albareda. There have been over 1 million burials at this cemetery, and there are currently more than 150,000 graves.

Why You Should Go

Many of the more prominent and wealthy families of Barcelona requested the construction and design of their own mausoleums. It resulted in some of the city’s best architects playing a role in constructing some spectacular pieces. Many of the larger mausoleums and monumental tombs have little signs next to them with some information about the architectural style.

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The place is honestly breathtaking. It’s huge, bigger than I could ever show you with photo’s. The monuments and massive mausoleums make it feel more like a miniature city than a cemetery. Continue reading “Why You Should Visit The Montjuïc Cemetery in Barcelona”

Books · Self-development

Book Review: We’re All Mad Here by Claire Eastham

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Claire Eastham’s (blog here) book We’re All Mad Here promises to be a complete, no-nonsense guide to living with social anxiety. And in a lot of ways, that’s exactly what this book is. And in a lot of other ways, it’s not. In short, I have a lot of feelings about this.

First, let’s talk about the good

Claire is a very personable, witty author. I admire her honesty and vulnerability when talking about her own mental health. She isn’t scared to share funny little anecdotes where she might have made a bit of a fool of herself, and I thought that was great. More than once, this book made me laugh out loud. It’s like you get to know Claire just a little bit better, and I really enjoyed that.

“At this point most people would probably accept that shit was about to go down, but not me. I like denial land – I’m all about denial land!” 

I also though that most of the advice she gave was very actionable and clear. Claire never leaves you hanging with the question ‘What can I do about this problem?’ I particularly liked the advice she gave about the cognitive behavioural therapy exercises that she likes, as well as what she had to say about public speaking. In the book, Claire also reminds you that you’re never alone. That, for example, It’s normal to feel nervous when you get into an important meeting – plenty of people feel the same way. I really appreciated that.

But there were also some things I didn’t like..

Don’t get me wrong. I thought this book was okay, and some parts I even liked, I would probably rate it 2.5 out of five stars, but I didn’t love this book the same way as some people love this book. Even though I tried really hard. There were a couple of things in this book I took issue with.  Continue reading “Book Review: We’re All Mad Here by Claire Eastham”

Books · Self-development

My (Somewhat Unconventional) Reading Goals for 2018

I wanted to write a post talking about which books – and how many – I’m planning to read in 2018. Maybe I’ll make it to 52, or even 60, I thought to myself, feeling excited. Until I started to really think about that goal. We’re talking about reading books, immersing ourselves in stories and reflecting on them afterwards. Books are (in my opinion) meant to teach you something, meant to leave a mark on you one way or another. Meant to make you feel something. Then why would I make it a goal to read as many books as possible?

To quote this very profound piece published in The Guardian, ”literature is one of the few areas of modern life where it’s not all about the numbers. Of course figures matter to bookshops, publishers, writers and even libraries, but if we enjoy reading – if reading is in some sense good – it doesn’t make any sense for the reader to say that if you double the number of books you manage to get through in a year, it will be worth twice as much.”

Stop worrying about how much I’ve read, or haven’t read

If a ”read x amount of books a year” challenge works for you, then more power to you! but I’ve noticed that around the internet – on YouTube, blogs, Goodreads, etc – it has somewhat become a competition to read more. I often see people read novella’s or graphic novels (that you can read quickly) just so they can finish their reading challenge. Personally, that competitive mindset isn’t for me, not when we’re talking about books. So one of my goals for next year is to completely stop worrying about how much I’ve read, and especially haven’t read.

I’m still going to set myself a ”loose” goal of reading at least one book every week which will land me somewhere between 25 and 52 books at the end of the year. But that goal is meant to keep myself in check and practice my reading habit. The most important part for me is to not beat myself up if the one-book-a-week doesn’t work out, as long as I’m enjoying my book. Continue reading “My (Somewhat Unconventional) Reading Goals for 2018”

Self-development

5 Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 2017

Now that it’s December, I’m more in self-reflection mode than ever. This happens every year, but especially this year I’m in overdrive. That’s because 2017 was such a defining year for me, much more defining that 2016 or even 2015. A long-term relationship ended early this year (on good terms! Thank you for still sending my pictures of your cat, Nick) and something new and beautiful has started. I also decided to go back to school at the age of 21 for another degree, and I’m now knee deep into homework and exams.  In short: I’ve learned a lot this year, some of which I want to share with you today.

People cater to strength

I’ve learned that you must be your own source of strength while you navigate through the world. I mean that in all ways possible. Be physically strong enough so you know how to defend yourself, but also be someone who doesn’t let other people’s opinions define them.

Be strong enough to choose your battles and know when an argument is pointless. Be strong enough to step away from something if you need to – if you know that something isn’t good for you. You’ll notice that if you’re strong, people will also respond to you in a positive light and that they will respect your strength.

Short-term hustle and long-term patience are each others best friend

A while back I read a reddit comment that talked about the concept of ‘zero days’.

”There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. Didn’t do anything all fucking day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero. When you’re in the super vortex of being bummed your pattern of behaviour is keeping the vortex going, that’s what you’re used to. Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe doesn’t happen from the vortex. It happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON ZEROS.”

This is what I do. I try to become better every day, even if it’s just 0,1%. But at the same time, I’ve become content with the idea that I don’t need x amount of money or x amount of (page)views to be happy and successful. Instead, I focus on enjoying the process and working towards my goals on a consistent basis. I focus on being thankful for the things I’ve learned and I try to become better for my future self. Also: I’ve learned that there are no shortcuts to get what you want. You need to put in the work.  Continue reading “5 Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 2017”