Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Anticipated Releases

Before we dive into into today’s post, let me update you on my reviewing progress. 😉

Remember all those books I promised to review in my previous two posts? Well, it would honestly helped had I wrote notes whilst reading them as I am now desperately remembering what I wanted to actually write about. Mental note to self: “Please be a dear and write notes whilst reviewing books. Your future-self will thank you for that. Ta!” I haven’t given up yet, there is still hope … ! 😉


Now the review bit is over, 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:


Let’s dive into today’s topic. Let’s talk about that deliciously sweet feeling of anticipation.

Why now? Firstly, I’m already kind of getting excited about Christmas and secondly, James and I have an epic, two week long road trip ahead of us, that I am have been anticipating for months, created a vision board for and just can not wait to tell you about at some point. 😊

Those two points made me think about the joy of anticipation and how it can be extended to books as well.

I love anticipating new book releases. Currently, I have three books I just can not wait to get my hands on:

  • Katherine Arden’s The Winter of the Witch
  • Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars
  • and Sarah J. Maas’ final book in the Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash

I can not wait to read those but equally, I am really enjoying that feeling of anticipation. I am picturing how much I will be enjoying reading them and as I am thinking about that, I am actually creating a lot of enjoyment already for myself.

I was reading the other day a note that said that sometimes, it’s nice to have things lined up just for the sake of anticipation. Regardless of how those things actually turn out to be.

You can think about a vacation you’ll be taking. Planning it, dreaming about it, visualising who you will be spending it with, what you will be talking about, what you will be doing, how much fun it will be… and you know what? It actually doesn’t matter how that vacation turns out to be, because in your mind, you will be creating those feelings ahead of time. And will be enjoying them regardless if the ‘real deal’ delivers or not.

You can of course do the same thing with books – looking forward to reading a book yet to be written by one of your favourite authors can be extremely enjoyable regardless if you happen to enjoy that book in the end or not. It’s that long, excited and sweet feeling of anticipation you will be cultivating prior to the actual reading experience.

Yes, there is also a possibility of an anticipated event not turning up to be the way we envisioned it but that disappointment doesn’t take away those giddy months of anticipation. It may be a temporary downer, I agree, but it still doesn’t take away those feelings we felt beforehand.

Of course we can decide to play it safe and numb those excited feelings in order not to get disappointed… because you know, it may hurt a little. But if we decide to squash our anticipation, we will also numb the follow up enjoyment, should that event actually deliver.  Numbing emotions is not a selective process. Something I very vividly remember from my own past…

So here’s the deal.

Shall we make a pact to celebrate anticipation, look forward to all our eagerly awaited releases no matter what we think of them afterwards?

And let’s be bold, let’s extend that to other aspects of our lives, shall we?


Let’s chat!

Tell me what you are anticipating / are looking forward to at the moment?

As always, I love reading your comments and getting to know you. ❤️

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Book Ratings – to be, or not to be: that is the question!

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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 post, I would like us to talk about book ratings.

Or rather for them to be, or not to be: that is the question. 😊

I have been recently wondering how comparable these ratings are across different genres as well as how granular they really are. I mean if I incline towards 4 stars, but it’s not quite there, but then 3 ½ stars seem a bit low… I know, I am overthinking it.

How do you rate a coffee table book vs. a fantasy book? One will show you lovely images and could make your living space more enjoyable whereas the other one may get your heart pumping and could get you emotionally invested. Is it fair to rate the first lower than the latter because of perhaps a lack of emotional investment? I guess if you, as a book blogger, tend to stick to one genre, maybe this question becomes redundant. But I like to read a lot of non-fiction as well as fiction. And I’m starting to wonder if my non-fiction ratings are directly comparable to my fiction ratings…

What also bugs me the most is when my heart is in a conflict with my brain. That’s where I have not idea how to rate.

I’ll give you an example:

I finished reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I was fully emotionally invested, I cried a lot and my heart loved it. I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads straight after I finished it. Then I started thinking about it. And my dear brain told me: ‘ehm, the ending was rushed, it was a bit of a soap opera really, there were quite a few clichés… let’s give it 3 or 3 ½ if we are generous, shall we’? My heart is refusing to listen and wants to firmly stick to the 5-star rating.

So which rating shall I give it? Shall I average them? Or listen to my brain?

Ultimately all reviews are our opinions and are therefore subjective. I think describing our reasons for liking a certain book and then pointing out where it personally fell a bit short of us, seems quite fair to me.

We are reading Art. Is it fair to rate the work of art?

I honestly don’t know the answer to it yet.

But I am starting to incline towards writing a review which will leave a reader with my thoughts rather that with thoughts + a number.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t use ratings by the way, I’m just thinking out loud and trying to work out what would work the best for me.

If you enjoy giving your books ratings, please don’t feel judged. That’s not my intention at all.  


Let’s talk!

As I’m trying to figure it all out, I  will be very grateful for any of your advice.

I am especially keen to work out if:

  1. you listen to your heart
  2. you listen to your brain
  3. you listen to both of them

If your answer is 3), how do you then reflect that in your overall rating please?

I appreciate all your comments, they always make my day. 😊

Chitter-chatter

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

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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? 🙂

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: How to Feel Better During Reading Slumps

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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 talked about To-Be-Read lists and how to manage them. In the previous episode we talked about Reading Challenges and how to feel comfortable at failing them.

For today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I have chosen a topic that is unfortunately well known within the bookish community; let’s talk reading slumps, shall we?

There have been many great articles written on reading slumps. Some of my favourite ones are:

  • Norrie @ Reading under the Blankie offers great tips on how to deal with such periods of time. I found some of her strategies useful.
  • The Orangutan Librarian talks about the joys of re-reading books and how that can help getting out of reading slumps. I can totally see her point and it is something I am planning on trying out shortly as well.
  • Krysta @ Pages Unbound talks about why reading slumps can actually be valuable to us, readers.  Her thoughts inspired me to write today’s post. Thanks Krysta for that!

What I want to talk about today is how to feel better during reading slumps.

I think these times could be troublesome to us, readers, as we may start feeling like we are failing at being readers. And that doesn’t feel good. Hopefully in today’s series, I can offer some tips on how to possibly change that.


As a life coach in training, I get told regularly how powerful words are. I suppose I don’t need to highlight it any further as my assumption is that readers of my blog love books therefore are in love with language and words. I could be wrong but I’m going with this theory. 🙂

Have you read a book that made you think a certain way and because of that you started feeling particular way? You may not even realise you were thinking something; you may just remember those awesome feelings you had afterwards.

The gift of books is to bring us thoughts than can make us feel certain way. Some books do it “cheaply” and go for obvious joyful or tear-jerking moments, some do it in a more subtle way but ultimately, all books make us think and therefore feel.

So how does that relate to those dreaded reading slumps?

In my opinion, how we name such periods of time is critical as that is what is forming our thoughts. If I say I’m in a reading slump, I honestly start feeling dreadful. Because I’m thinking I’m in a slump and therefore that I’m failing. All of that thinking is causing me to feel miserable.

As a self-confessed “recovering perfectionist”, I often make such statements about myself; shame again – it’s not my actions that are failing but me as a person who is failing. Because I’m thinking I am a reading failure, I also start producing thoughts causing apathy such as: “what’s the point anyway”… and as a consequence, I start feeling even less like doing something about it. And it all started with an innocent word slump that I made into a story, which then made me feel certain way.

We are all different and for you, that word may not spin into a story I told myself above. If that is the case, please carry on using it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t. But if you can somehow relate to what I have just written, here are some strategies you could try to stop feeling that way:


1)      You could not use that word slump. You could use something that makes you think differently about this phase and that will serve you.

I use ‘I read less than previous month’ or ‘I don’t read this month’ sentences. They are factual. However if I add judgement to them such as: ‘I read less than before and I’m failing’ it stops serving me.

So I’ve done what many coaches do, and have used a technique that softens an impact of a sentence and prevents me to add my own judgement to it. In this case, the sentence is: ‘I read less than previous month, and that’s OK’.

Can you feel the difference as soon as you read it? I certainly can.

2)      You can make the negative ‘I read less than before therefore I’m failing’ thought more neutral via: ‘I read less than previous month but there are certain days of a month when I am reading’.

Once that one is digested, you can take it even further ‘I read less than previous month but I read on a few evenings every week’.

You are basically trying to make yourself slowly feel like a reader again… that technique is moving your thought of the ‘I’m a failed reader’ to the ‘I am still a reader’ thought. All done in a believable way, which is based on facts rather than judgement.

3)      Or you could put a positive spin to it and add judgement that will make you feel better.

Side note: this is sometimes difficult to execute as you kind of have to believe it to get on board.

In this case, an example would be ‘I read less than previous month, and I finally have an opportunity to do other things I have been putting on hold’.

For some people, this strategy may be initially too radical and the first step to take maybe to try points 1) and 2) instead.


Disclaimer: I am a big fan of Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School podcast. It’s for everyone who is curious to see what a self-coaching may look like. Brooke offers many extremely valuable and free insights and I adore her no no-nonsense, let’s have a frank conversation approach. These tips above were inspired by some of her podcasts. If you find them useful, I suggest checking her podcast out as well as she talks about other topics that some may find interesting.

I firmly believe that the language I use in my head to describe my actions has immense power. If I start judging myself in a way that triggers feelings of shamehurtapathyfear… then I am not doing myself any favours and the likelihood of me getting out of a reading slump is smaller. Why? Because as terrible as this sounds, thoughts of this calibre can be quite indulgent. Brooke Castillo did an entire podcast on Indulgent Emotions and I’m telling you, they honestly can be that way once we give them enough room to roam free, I know that from my own experience.

Writing another believable narrative in my mind has helped me personally. I feel better that way. I enjoy those periods when I don’t read as I have trained my mind using all three of those points above. It’s still difficult sometimes as unwanted thoughts pop in now and again. But being aware of them and either privately journaling or talking to my loved ones are some of my coping strategies.

And then there is this lovely bookish community as well that has brought me so much joy already. All you wonderful like-minded book lovers that can provide useful insights and that generally ‘get’ it. Sometimes knowing it’s not just me but other people are going through that as well brings me a lot of comfort. So thanks so much for being there, I am grateful for that.


I use this as an opportunity to pass it over to you guys. Let’s chat.

  • What do you THINK of reading slumps?
  • How do you FEEL during those?

Fancy sharing that with me? I would love to hear your thoughts and stories. Thanks.

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Reading Challenges and the Art of Failing

 

 

Reading Challenge

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics and which I started with a TBR list discussion. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here.

I’ve decided to talk about Reading Challenges as that’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately as well.


Early in January this year, I set my first reading challenge. I wanted to be pushed and to read a lot. I pledged 100 books in the GoodReads 2018 challenge. The main reason being that I somehow miscalculated the amount of weeks in a year. 😳 Side note: I have a Maths degree…

After I was reminded that 100 books is not 3-4 books a month…. I freaked out a little as reading a new book every three days or so seemed impossible. And I sort of felt I was signing up for a failure. Then I decided to tackle it head on and read and read.

I was on track until early March when my reading pace slowed down. April was even a slower month reading-wise and GoodReads now cheerily reminds me I am quite behind.

I thought for a second of changing those 100 books to something more ‘doable’… like halving them.. I reasoned with ‘nobody knows, nobody notices’. That thought of avoiding a potential reading failure brought me a sense of relief. Interesting, isn’t it?

And then I though: “hang on a second. Someone will know. I will know.” And I may use that in future against myself. I could be very crafty when needed.

So I took a deep breath and accepted that I am quite likely to fail. I may get close, I may not or I may even successfully complete it. What is the worst that will happen? Well, I won’t meet my own expectations, that’s all.

What’s interesting about us not meeting our expectations is usually what we make it mean. It’s the stories we spin, especially if we make them about us, not our efforts.

Have you ever beaten yourself up after a certain “failure“? Have you talked to yourself harshly and has it demotivated you? Have you played it safe for a bit afterwards? Been there, done that.. many times.

I just read an interesting article that we should aspire to fail daily. So we become “good at it” and are willing to grow even more as we are willing to get involved in uncertain, uncontrollable scenarios. I love control. As a “recovering perfectionist” I’m learning how to let go. And it’s sometimes tough as this particular challenge reminded me. I guess I can now appreciate the effort vs the outcome. And that’s progress. Even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it.

Do you have a reading challenge that is going breezily? How would you feel about doubling it?

You may say: come on, I won’t complete it then.

My answer? That’s exactly the point.

You don’t of course have to, especially if you are already being challenged with your current reading challenge as it is. I’m also not suggesting it so I am feeling better about my own challenge. It’s just a suggestion – what’s more interesting is to perhaps observe what thought popped in your head when I made that suggestion. That’s where the work usually starts..

I want us all to be comfortable with failing. I want to cheer each and every one of us when certain expectations of ours are not met. Let’s dare greatly and pick each other up when we fall.

Whatever you decide to do, I do wish you well in your challenge and sincerely hope you are having a very enjoyable reading year. 📚 💕


Chitter-Chatter Time

What do you think about Reading Challenges?

  • Do you have one?
  • If you do: how is it going?

And how do you feel about failing / not meeting your expectations about reading challenges or any other aspirations of yours?

Let me know in the comments below.