Bookish

Social Media Update

social media 2

Just a quick one: I finally bit the bullet and created a few accounts that will accompany my blog.

You can now found me on these platforms:

If you use any of these on a regular basis, please come over to say Hi. I would love to hear from you. 🙂 

These will be used to compliment my blog, not to notify you about new posts only – at least I hope! Oh, that Anxiety again!!

I quit social media a few years ago but hoping that I have grown since then and have my friend Anxiety under control. Let’s see, shall we? 🙂

Anyhow, I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and looking forward to connecting with some of you on these platforms.

Vera 

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Blogging Goals – Less in the World of More

CaféLatte

Welcome to the ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series. I’m so glad you are here

In case you have missed previous posts in this series, we are still talking about:


In today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I would like to chat about setting goals. Before I do that, let’s start with the more vs. less concept.

Do you sometimes feel you need to or should do more?

When applied to the blogging community: do you feel you should read more books, write more posts, engage with more bloggers, have more social media platforms…?

If you have been following my blog for a while, you may know that I call myself a minimalist.

Minimalists like to talk about less being more. I know, it is an oxymoron. But when we think about what is behind ‘less‘ – it may start making sense.

As an example: if I want ‘less’ things, I may be able to work ‘less’ hours as I need to earn ‘less’ money and therefore have ‘more’ non-working time to spend.

Even though I fully believe in less being more, I still notice that need for more sometimes lurking in dark corners of my mind and when I don’t keep an eye of it, it starts making its way to the surface.

Recently, I have noticed a shift in my mentality about blogging. I started to feel I needed to do more.

I felt I needed to read more. And write more, visit more blogs, and generally make more of an effort. Do you notice how exhausting it sounds?

And do you know what’s interesting about it? That nobody told me so. It all came from me – those were my own expectations I ruthlessly put upon myself.

We may set goals for different reasons:

  • We may set them because frankly, we want to. We are in a state of ‘happy dissatisfaction’ with a mindset full of abundance, kindness and love and want to evolve.
  • Or we can also set them because we may feel we ‘lack something’. This mindset is about scarcity.

The first category makes us feel content with failing, the second category hates failing. The first category promotes self-love and self-compassion, the second one fear and shame. The first category wants us to do something, not because how we are hoping to feel afterwards, but because it is something we are interested in doing. The second category is all about how we will feel afterwards… and the answer is: we are hoping we will feel better than how we are feeling right now.

Brooke Castillo did an entire podcast on ‘goal setting’ in which she talks about how we could set goals we have already achieved alongside those that we are still hoping to achieve. It’s absolutely fantastic and you can listen to it here.

The first time I heard it, I thought: ‘Whaaat? Why would I set goals I have already completed? Isn’t that a bit counter-intuitive’?

Thinking about it for some time led me believe that setting those goals we have achieved, alongside those, we are yet to achieve, not only shifts our mentality into that first category, but also enables us to want less as our goal list is already partially complete.

Okay, it may be a bit abstract, let’s pick an example:

Let’s say I want to write three posts a week and make this my current blog goal.

I can also want to ‘have a blog’ (which I have) and find a group of people on blogosphere I enjoy interacting with (which I have found and am extremely grateful for).

Looking at it this way, I have already achieved two of my three goals. And it feels good. Side note: those two goals are something I very much wanted at some point. And I have achieved them. I included them because they once were something I truly desired.

Wishing for something using an example above makes me feel like I am not lacking anything, but rather have an abundance of opportunities in my life.

If I don’t achieve my three posts a week goal,  I won’t make it mean all about me because I have already achieved those other two goals… do you see what is happening here? I have three goals and my goal list doesn’t feel short, I have also achieved two of those so I am not feeling stressed about the incomplete goal.

You may argue that this way, you will achieve less. I politely disagree. I think wanting something, which we already have, ensures we are likely not to give up when things become challenging.

I also think it may reduce our overall anxiety and feelings of: ‘there’s so much to do, I don’t know what to do first, I’m so busy, I am so overwhelmed’…. As these can result into us not taking any actions at all. I usually start procrastinating whenever I am thinking those thoughts.

I believe that wanting something we already have can also help us start cultivating gratitude. And gratitude could invite inner peace.


Do you feel like there is just so much to do and you don’t know what to do first?

How about you chose the most important goal you currently have and add a few goals to your goal list, that you once really wanted to accomplish, and which you have achieved?

You don’t need to pick one incomplete goal nor use the 1:2 ratio. It’s completely up to you. We are all different.

Trying this experiment may be fun and if you do decide to give it a go, please let me know. I would love to cheer you along! 🙂

My parting comments are following: we can all feel sometimes that we need more. But I wholeheartedly believe that the answer is always less.


Let’s talk!

  • What do you think of the ‘wish for something you already have’ concept?
  • And do you also sometimes feel like you need to do ‘more’?
  • And what do you think about minimalism? 🙂

As always, I would love to know what you think. I do appreciate all your comments.

Bookish

T5W Rewind – Tropes you Hate

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This month’s topics for the Top 5 Wednesday series are Rewind topics – which means we can choose any previously used topic throughout the series. For today’s topic, I have chosen Tropes you Hate.

Before I dive into this topic, I really want to stress out that I do not hate any of those tropes below. They can get on my nerves when they are used as an ‘easy way out’ – as something that bypasses either characters’ developments or plots’ challenges.

I am not judging anyone who likes these tropes either. Please keep that in mind. It’s all a matter of personal preferences. 🙂


 

  1. Love at first sight, aka. instalove

love at first sight

Insta-love is probably my biggest pet peeve. I do not believe in love at first sight. I do believe of course in attraction at first sight, but that has nothing to do with love.

In my opinion, love goes hand in hand with respect. And respect is something that is usually earned through time. It is also about understanding and appreciating each other and again, that takes time.

I think the cliché of ‘their eyes met and they knew there were destined for each another’ send a naïve message of ‘as long as there is attraction between us and we are looking at each others’ eyes, it’s all good’.

In my humble opinion, it’s a simplistic and also a bit dangerous message to be sending out there.

As my favourite author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, once famously said: “Loving is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.”

  1. Chosen ones / special snowflakes

special snowflake

Usually a character that is destined to be the hero and to save the entire world either because everyone around them or some prophecy says so, or because they have some incredibly unique power and are therefore extremely special.

I think this is a bit of a ‘an easy way out’ card. An author can potentially use it without having to think about characters’ motivations. Because you know… it’s their destiny!!!!

Of course some authors can use this cliché and make it work, yes HP fans, I’m talking about your favourite author. But in a lot of cases, this approach sometimes doesn’t go deep into characters’ motives and can make them a bit less relatable because of that.

  1. The Plain Jane who is magically transformed to win the hunky hero’s heart

plain-jane-it-is-i-dont-care

I honestly can not stand ‘The Plain Jane’ character. When you spice it up with a hunky hero saving her or his heart, I tend to lose a bit..

We are all unique and that makes us all interesting.

The Plain Jane is just a cliché that plays at our insecurities. The message of ‘there’s hope for all of us’ resonates but is it actually serving us?

I believe nobody is plain. Full stop.

  1. The evil one

evil one

The usual ‘good vs. evil’ dynamic is a cliché that gets on my nerves. We are all complex and pure evil villains are again, a bit of an easy way out.

It becomes double annoying when combined with the ‘monster is shot, stabbed, burned and impaled on a spike, and it rises again and again’ trope as well. I mean please, save us all our precious time and just kill those evil monsters off, will you?

It also has an irritable potential when combined with the evil one ‘accidentally‘ dying as well. I mean how convenient is that? When a murderer somehow stumbles and falls under a train, or off a cliff… yep, that one gets me too!

  1. Any good detective must be depressed—and preferably should have a drinking or substance overuse related problem.

dog detective

I think this one is quite self-explanatory. 😉

It’s usually closely followed by a maverick detective who doesn’t trust anyone and doesn’t need anybody’s help…


There you have it. Now over to you friends.

What are your favourite ‘tropes you personally dislike’? Fancy sharing some of them with me? 🙂

Non Fiction

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

we should all be feminists

We live in a society where shame can cause us to put on so much emotional armour that we are no longer connecting with others. You can call it fear, self-doubt, insecurity… whatever we call it, it’s than feeling we may get from time to time thinking we may just not be good enough. And all we do want is to hide. You may know by now, that shame is something Dr Brené Brown’s books talk about and I did explore it a bit in this post.

Why am I talking about shame whilst analysing a book about feminism? You see, how we perceive shame has something to do with our gender.

As Brown says, women tend to experience shame mostly about appearance – if we are thin, young or/and beautiful enough. Side note: of course, appearance shame is not limited to women only, men can experience it as well. It is however the number one shame trigger amongst women.

Adichie says: “forget the history of the word and the baggage it carries and think about the idea of it”.

And I agree. But before we do that, let’s address shame first.

Let’s say I tell my friend I’m a feminist and he looks at me and laughs whist saying back: “so you are telling me you stopped caring, won’t use deodorant and won’t shave your legs?”. Side note: that actually happened to me, admittedly it was more than a decade ago and had a lot to say about that certain individual rather than me… but the memory of it still stinks sometimes.

If the baggage around the word feminism targets a lack of interest in women’s appearances… then by default, it is used to instil shame in women. In other words, if you are a feminist, you clearly don’t care about your appearance, shame on you!

It bothers me.

That baggage is heavy, and I admit there were times when I would rather use a label of a ‘human activist’. Which is not a lie as I wholeheartedly believe in equal rights regardless of one’s gender, age, ethnicity, political, religious and sexual preferences etc.

But that didn’t specifically address the gender issue.

And I admit I was afraid. I didn’t want to be perceived in a certain way where I would have to defend myself. And I didn’t want to feel ashamed.

“My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”

Not only we can start viewing that word feminist as something both men and women could use, but we can also address how we raise our children – and that applies to raising both girls and boys.

Side note: this is not to shame anybody’s parenting skills, I believe we all do the best we can. I’m talking about more general issue that goes very deep into our origins and roles we all play in this, regardless if we are parents or not.

In general, girls tend to be taught to be careful, to stay away from danger so they won’t get hurt. Boys are encouraged to be brave, to go out and seek adventures. If a boy gets hurt, he will be clapped for being the daring one, if a girl gets hurt, she will be scolded for being reckless and told not to do it again… Boys are encouraged to be loud, angry at times. But girls.. not so much. Pleasant is a word I personally cannot stand but sadly is the one sometimes used to describe a ‘nice’ woman. Why is it that if a woman is angry, she may be perceived as hysterical whereas a man may be perceived as passionate?

What can we do about it?

“Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.”

And I could not agree more.

To make this world a different world, we must think about how we interact with each other, and that includes children, and how we rise up to challenges that will then shape our future. Using shame to solve a certain issue is not a way forward, it is an easy way out that doesn’t create such world.

We Should All Be Feminists is a short essay. I listened to it as an audio book and found Adichie to be a phenomenal narrator. Her beautiful voice talked about issues I really needed to address.

It’s a thought provoking piece that is extremely digestible as it is told via stories. And there is no judgement or hate attached to it. Just an open mind and a vision for better future.

I recommend this short book to everyone.

It’s an important topic and it gave me many thoughts that still linger days afterwards.

I understand the word feminism a bit more and sincerely hope that we all can be feminists

Verdict: Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple Hot Beverage on Apple  Hot Beverage on Apple  (5/5)

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Why Do We Blog? Values 101

why do we blog

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics.

If you have missed previous posts, we are still talking about:


In today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I would like to chat about why we find blogging enjoyable. I will explore the topic of personal values to help us understand.

A lot of coaching starts with exploring our values. Coaches believe that it is important to know them as they represent our core beliefs. They are our base and define who we are.

It is important to keep in mind that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ values.  For example, if family is a strong value of mine and my friend’s value is career, I may think of some of her choices as strange as they may go against my own value. This is when we can potentially get into conflict with others as our values may be clashing.

Knowing our values is also helpful in terms of being able to understand why we feel certain way. Susan David in her book Emotional Agility talks about emotions, that we sometimes perceive as ‘negative’, as actually being valuable to us. Those emotions can give us useful insights about what’s important in our lives and what our values are.

For example, let’s say someone cuts me off in traffic and I get angry. Rather than beating myself up for reacting that way, I can just pause and tell myself: “of course, I’m angry, respect is a value of mine and I feel it’s just been breached by that ‘disrespectful’ behaviour”. Side note: it’s not a fact that the behaviour was disrespectful, it was my opinion, but it helped me understand why I felt the way I did. The next step would be then to examine why I saw that behaviour as disrespectful and if I would like to change my opinion or if I’m happy with keeping it as it is. There is nothing wrong with keeping it as it is by the way. We are all entitled to have opinions!

I believe we all deep down know our values, but we haven’t named them yet, so they may still be a bit unclear to us.

I find helpful asking myself questions such as ‘what do I love doing’, ‘when do I feel content’ or ‘what makes me angry’ and so on. And when I notice my emotions, I can dig deeper to find what values are possibly behind them.

How does that relate to blogging?

We have different reasons why we blog, mostly because our values are not identical.

For example, if my value is creativity, I will blog regardless if I have followers, likes, comments etc. Because the act of writing honours that value of creativity. However, if my value is recognition, my motives will be different and I will find promotion of my work important.

We normally have many values and how we perceive them can sometimes present an internal value conflict.

For example, if both creativity and recognition are my values, they may cause me an inner tension as creativity wants me to spend time creating and recognition wants me to spend time promoting my work. They may argue over my time. When I recognise I have these values, I can divide my time so they both get my attention and I feel aligned with them. I could say I’ll spend x amount of time this week writing and y amount of time promoting my work. Or I could also change the way I look at promoting my blog in general. If I know I love being creative, I can see marketing as a creative process and acknowledge that I am honouring both of these values at once. It’s important to notice and name our values as that may help us shift our perspective.

The reasons I enjoy blogging is that it honour these values of mine:

  • Creativity – it’s fundamental that I create. If I don’t write, I must take photos, garden, draw, read (it’s considered creative due to imagination we use whilst reading), sing, bake, cook, dance… I just need to make stuff. If I don’t, I get super grumpy.
  • Connection / Love / Generosity – I group these together as I see them as one. I want to connect. I love people and blogging has enabled me to meet some wonderful peeps. I guess I could be writing posts just for the sake of my creativity but without that connection, it would feel less satisfying.

For me, connection doesn’t necessary relate to my blog. I am happy to visit others’ blogs and connect that way. Via doing so, I am sort of removing an external condition that people must read my blog for me to connect with them. Please don’t feel you have to visit my blog if I ever comment at yours. I am honestly commenting because I love your post!

But equally, please don’t feel that I don’t appreciate if you do comment on my blog. It means a lot to me and I am thankful for all those sweet and kind people who have commented so far. I appreciate every one of you. 

  • Authenticity– it’s extremely important to me to stay true to myself and to my values. I am not everybody’s cup of tea and that’s absolutely fine. Dita Von Teese once famously said: “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches”. 😉 I want to write my opinions. And I am more than happy to have them challenged… but I won’t be writing reviews to please people nor will I read genre I have zero interest in to attract traffic.
  • Curiosity – I swear that one gets me more often into trouble that it actually serves me! My favourite word is why and I was one of those nightmare kids who would always ask questions and would never get satisfied with the ‘that’s the way it is’ answer. My poor parents had to constantly answer questions of: ‘why is the grass green’, ‘why is this man angry’, ‘why does this person need two seats’.. I wasn’t a mean child, I wanted to understand. And because I’m curious, I love analysing books. I want to get to know characters and understand their motives. When writing critical reviews, my curiosity is blissfully happy.
  • Growth – It sort of goes hand in hand with curiosity. I don’t feel I need to change but I still crave growing and evolving. If a book has a character that doesn’t grow, I lose interest. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to grow by the way, it’s just something that is personally important to me.

I also feel that I’m growing when I read positive reviews of books I personally didn’t enjoy reading that much.

Curiosity wants to know why these opinions are different, generosity enables me to keep an open mind and growth gets satisfied when I understand those different opinions. 🙂

These are not the only values of mine, but I find them fundamental when I’m blogging. When I’m honouring them, I am content and happy to carry on.  I am still figuring my values, please don’t feel bad if you don’t know yours yet. It is a process which doesn’t happen overnight.

If you know your values, your list may be very different to mine – and that’s ok! I appreciate how different we all are – it makes this world such an interesting place to live in.

Just before I wrap up, I want to tell you a story. A few years ago, I had an Instagram and Twitter accounts that related to rock climbing. I love taking photos and initially really enjoyed honouring this creative outlet of mine. My followers’ numbers grew, and I was getting more and more likes. And I’m not going to lie to you: it felt initially great. But then it somehow stopped feeling good and I started seeing it more as a chore. I thought long and hard about why my perspective shifted. I think my problem was that I wasn’t taking photos for me but rather for my audience. That started going against my value of authenticity. I also started neglecting connections as I was not fully present with others whilst thinking about what photo to take during my time with them. And it didn’t feel good. Once I started understanding my values, I also started understanding why I felt the way I did.

I’m sharing my experience not to preach my values. I’m sharing it as an example to demonstrate how knowing our values can help us understand ourselves better.

I believe that we feel good not because what our values are, but rather because we are aware of them and are aligned with them.


It’s time to chat.

  • Do you understand your values? (I’m still working mine out so don’t feel bad if you don’t, you are not alone!)
  • If you do, what values of yours relate to your blogging?

Please let me know in the comments below, I am dying to know… (that curiosity again…!)

PS. I am not judging anybody who has different values, please keep that in mind if you feel a bit scared or intimidated! 

Bookish

T5W Rewind – Favourite Villains

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This month’s topics for the Top 5 Wednesday series are Rewind topics – which means we can choose any previously used topic throughout the series. For today’s topic, I have chosen Favourite Villains.


In any book I read or a movie I watch, I crave complex characters.

I enjoy discovering characters that are not entirely likeable.

The protagonists must have flaws and the purpose of their stories is to overcome them. Equally, for their antagonists, there must be still some humanity left in them in order for me to sympathise with them. I will not condone their actions, but I may at least understand, where that behaviour is coming from.

There are many evil psychopathic villains out there and they have their place. My list below probably consists mostly of sympathetic or rather tragic villains.

Side note: The Orangutan Librarian wrote a brilliant post on Why Villains are the Greatest. I really recommend checking it out!


  • Sméagol / Gollum – The Lord of the Ring Series

Gollum

Let’s pause and appreciate Gollum’s portrait by Frédéric Bennett 

Gollum is probably my favourite.

I like his character because there is still some humanity left in him, despite being consumed by his extremely powerful desire for the Ring.

He always gives me hope; that humanity can persevere.

  • Loki – Norse Mythology (and Marvel comics)

loki

Picture by incredible artist Sceith

Loki is a broken man damaged by his past.

The legends tell us the harder he tries, the harder he usually falls.

I guess that could make his actions seem somehow relatable. And I think that’s what makes him an interesting character as well.

  • Magneto – Marvel Comics, X-Men

Magneto

Image credit

Another character haunted by his dark past.

His intentions are to make the world a better place for the mutants.

Unfortunately his approach, to kill all humans, is what makes him an anti-hero material. That doesn’t mean we approve of his choices, but can at least understand what made him into that villain.

  • Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader

star wars origin

Photo credit

Because every hero has a villain potential.

And because we don’t know what we are capable of doing until everything we love is threatened to be taken away from us.

And because of that redemption and hope that goes with it.

  • Jamie Lannister from “A Song of Ice and Fire” series

George R.R Martin has this cunning ability to create complex characters that I just want to know more of.

got__jaime_lannister_by_antylopa-dazvdlv

Amazing drawing by Antylopa

Jamie is one of them.

In the first few books, he is a ‘classic’ villain. His actions are fuelled by his selfish and ego-centric behaviour and of course there is that sibling love.

Then he is forced to face his disability and he raises up to that challenge.

It has something to do with certain Brienne of Tarth. Their unlikely friendship and those first glimpses of Jamie’s humanity, that were there all along but buried deep within, are probably one of my favourite parts of the Game of Thrones series.


There you have it. Now over to you friends.

What are your favourite villains? Fancy sharing some of them with me? 🙂

About Me, Bookish

Book Blogger Insider Tag

#Tags

I’d like to thank Ashley @ Ashley in Wonderland and Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky for tagging me in the Book Blogger Insider Tag. I enjoy connecting with them at their blogs. If they are new to you, please go and say Hi as they both write some interesting reviews.

RULES:

  • Answer the questions below
  • Credit the creator: Jamie @ ALittleSliceofJamie
  • Tag at least 5 people
  • Have fun!

1. Where do you typically write your blog posts?

Usually in my home office on our PC. We painted the tiny wall behind the computer midnight blue and I love staring at it whilst formulating my thoughts. I really want to add a floating shelf and some fairy lights to it so my staring into nothingness gets some ‘texture’. 😉

2. How long does it take you to write a book review?

It depends. I usually write a draft first, which takes anything around 30 – 60 minutes. Then I like to sleep on it and edit it on my iPad. I usually don’t post straight away, but rather a few days after my initial draft.

3. When did you start your book blog?

In February 2018.

4. What’s the worst thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

All those passionate and wonderful reviews my fellow book bloggers write. I somehow want to read all of those books immediately. Don’t take me wrong, I love being inspired.. but..  I sometimes feel I need to read everything straight away. And I am the only one to blame for that …  #bookishproblems 🙈

problems

5. What is the best thing about having a book blog in your opinion?

I would say it’s the blogging community, discovering alike minded bloggers and sometimes expanding my reading horizons because of that has been tremendous fun and I am so grateful for all those interesting and kind people I got to meet so far. 🙂

blogging community

6. What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?

Top 5 Wednesday Ideal Mash-Ups. Mostly because it turned out to be a creative thing I discussed with my boyfriend and his family and was a lot of fun in general.

7. What is your favourite type of blog post to write?

I enjoy deconstructing books – I am fascinated by human behaviour and love analysing characters wondering why they did what they did and how it got captured in a book. So I would say book reviews are probably my favourite posts to write.

8. When do you typically write?

Before I start working in the mornings, usually after I walk my dog and have some good coffee. Side note: I am seriously turning into a coffee snob these days buying freshly roasted coffee beans that I grind and all that jazz… 😉

9. How do you write your book reviews? With a cup of coffee or tea? With Netflix? Cuddledup with your fur baby?

I don’t have a routine. I may have some coffee, my dog likes to hang around with me in the study unless some cats and squirrels pay him a visit in our garden which triggers his guardian alert and requires his attention downstairs… I sometimes burn an intense stick (much to my dog’s annoyance) and really enjoy watching trees outside or stare into that dark wall mentioned in point 1). 🙂

10. When do you write your book reviews? Right after finishing the book? Two weeks after finishing the book?

I usually wait at least a few days, sometimes a week or two. I mostly formulate my thoughts whilst walking my dog and let them brew a bit. I tend to copy quotes whilst reading a book but don’t take notes. I probably would benefit from that though…

11. How often do you post?

I don’t have a fixed schedule, I tend to do regular #T5W posts and ideally would like to post at least one book review a week. But if that doesn’t happen, I won’t stress about it. I have also started a Chitter-Chatter series but again, no fixed routine there yet. It may be a Friday thing but don’t hold me to it.


I think most of the bloggers I interact with has done this tag by now.

If you haven’t done it yet, consider yourself tagged and if that is something you would enjoy doing, please let me know as I would love to read your answers. 🙂

Before I go, I have one question I’m desperate to know though:

What is your favourite type of blog post to write?

Fancy sharing that with me? 🙂 Thanks. 🙂