Lifestyle

What Makes Me Happy: Part 2

Over a year ago I published a post titled: “What Makes You Happy?” I had asked people what made them smile and compiled their answers into a single post. At the time it was so beautiful to see paragraphs of the good things in life and knowing that everything mentioned is special to someone. I knew that even if I didn’t have a small patch of happiness of my own like those people, reading about it was enough. Looking back all this time later it saddens me that the magic I once felt in the post doesn’t exist anymore.

Recently my therapist asked me what made me happy, or at least what made me smile. A simple question that obviously shouldn’t have left me as stumped as it did. I tripped along my words in confusion until I found a reasonable answer: I said that reading makes me happy. Which was a lie. A couple years ago, whenever I would read, it would transport me to the world the author created, holding me hostage until the last page. Today, they do nothing for me. In fact, I only responded with reading out of habit. Isn’t it pathetic that I only ever had one hobby, and even that I can’t stand?

Essentially, I don’t have a happy place. Nowhere to hide inside my mind or even outside it. I don’t know if I ever will find one, and if I do, if it will change everything about me that makes me so sad. Sometimes, I don’t think I can wait.

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Lifestyle

Absent

When I moved away from home at the end of 2015, I turned to the book world in earnest. After all, I was living in a new place away from everything and everyone I had ever known. So a hundred fictional worlds became my haven. Going through the school year, I wasn’t bothered at all by my new and intense loneliness- because I had my books to turn to. Looking back at myself, I was only delaying the inevitable.

Listen- I was already sad. I had endured years of self-harm, suddenly moving to another country, moving back to my home and then moving away once more. It had obviously rattled something inside me. But this time instead of wearing my frustration on my sleeve, I chose to put on an indifferent front in hopes of riding through college and the new move. It was like my sadness was lurking behind my hardback novels, waiting for me to get bored of my new home to finally pounce on me. And that is exactly what happened.

Books were my only hobby, the only thing I was “good” at, per se. But beginning in 2017, I developed an unusual aversion to reading. I tried to pick up a book, but the words seemed so pointless, the stories foolish and quite simply, stupid. After that realization, it seemed like everything that I was holding back was rushing towards me, no punches held. And I have never felt as hopeless and utterly sad as I do now.

The upside to this pathetic tale? I finally mustered the courage to seek professional help for my depression. So far, it’s going really, really good. I’m still sad, I still sometimes wish that I wouldn’t wake up, wish that I was dead more often than not. But on good days I can see the other side of this sadness. And on those days I listen to loud music and smile and hope for more.

Lists

Wicked Book Tag!

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I recently got into Wicked and man, have I been missing out! The songs are catchy, the characters are fun and the story is an unforgettable journey. For those of you who don’t know, Wicked is a musical that tells the origin story of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch. While listening to the musical, I wondered if there was a book tag dedicated to Wicked. Finding none, I decided to create my own using seven tracks from the musical!


Dear Old Shiz: A book featuring a school setting. 

Other than Harry Potter– the most obvious pick for this song- I’m going to have to go with Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Anna was one of the first books that introduced me to the genre of YA contemporary and I was not disappointed! I loved the overseas setting; living with Anna at boarding school was a refreshing change in pace.

Something Bad: A book in where the foreshadowing clued you in on later events early on in the story. 

I’m going to have to go with Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. No spoilers, but I totally called it. You guys know.

Popular: A popular book whose hype you didn’t understand but enjoyed nonetheless. 

Don’t get me wrong- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins isn’t a bad book. It’s just that, in my opinion, there are an abundance of science fiction/dystopian series that are much better than The Hunger Games. The only way I can reason its excessive popularity is because it was one of the first young adult dystopian novel to be turned into a movie.

One Short Day: A short novel that packed a spectacular punch. 

(Sidenote: This song has been on repeat for the better part of two days.) For this song, I’m going to have to go with What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. It’s only 336 pages, but contains rich content- speaking on topics of rape, consent and subtle hints of feminism throughout; an important book if I’ve ever read one.

Defying Gravity: A book that exceeded your initial expectations- whether good or bad. 

When I first heard of Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins I never thought it was something for me. It’s Goodreads summary was trope-ish, and the entire “Southern belle” feel didn’t vibe well with me. But when I read it, I was blown away. It was hilarious, it was fun, and definitely taught me to give every book a chance.

Wonderful: A book that you thought you would enjoy but didn’t. 

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is a YA fiction novel that recounts fifty-four minutes of a school shooting and hostage situation. I was excited to read a book in where the premise was sadly all too familiar but was ultimately let down with its execution. Although it’s a book that made me think, it didn’t quite resonate in me as much as I thought it would.  Despite my disappointment, I would still recommend it.

Finale: Your  favorite conclusion to a series. 

Winter by Marissa Meyer, obviously! No book series has satisfied me as thoroughly as The Lunar Chronicles have. Winter was a rather large book- a whopping 832 pages- but aren’t finales always better when longer?


And that concludes my Wicked book tag! Sadly, I don’t know many people that have listened to Wicked here on WordPress other than Sayyeda over at Literary Hues (Her blog is GORGEOUS by the way), so I’m tagging her! To all other Wicked fans, feel free to participate as well! Make sure to tag me- I’d love to read your responses!

Until next time!

Lists

Books of 2016: Best Of

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Boy did 2016 pack a hard punch! My year was so hectic, I doubted I would be able to meet 2015’s 100 books. The fact that I made it to 99 makes me so proud of myself! Granted, a good percentage of the books are re-reads (The Lunar Chronicles minus Winter, the Mara Dyer trilogy minus Retribution, everything Shadowhunters, the Gone series and BZRK)- but hey, it’s still good! I read so many good books this year, it was such a headache choosing my favorites. So here I go- my favorite books that I read in 2016, not necessarily published in that year. So without further ado:

1) Solitaire by Alice Oseman: I have no idea how I stumbled upon this rare gem of a book, but I am so glad I did. Tori’s cynical view of life and school is shockingly relatable, and the portrayal of depression with the slight thriller element was amazing. Highly, highly recommend this book, especially to those struggling in school.

2) A Court of Thorns and Roses & A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas: Faeries and magic and rich world building and biting-your-nails-till-they-bleed adventure? The novel inspired by Beauty and the Beast, Sarah J. Maas- author of the Throne of Glass series- has done it again. Her work only gets better and better as time goes.

3) The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee AhdiehIn the retelling of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, we are gifted with badass female characters, believable villains, beautiful scenery, heartwarming romance, and a unique magic system. Toss a generous dose of diversity in there, and there you have it: the perfect blend for a perfect novel.

4) Illuminae & Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: Wow. These books are absolute stand outs. Science fiction in SPACE, crazy artificial intelligence, and… actually, just read Kristoff’s review, he explains it better. The books are written in the form of files: Case files, chats, transcripts- it’s such a fun read. Although they’re large in size, the formatting makes it quick to breeze by. Best science fiction I’ve read this year, hands down.

5) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: This dual perspective novel is perhaps the most brilliantly written fantasy I’ve read this year. In this Rome inspired novel, we follow Laia- a slave, attempting to save her brother from the clutches of the Martial Empire- and Elias- a soldier at a brutal military academy struggling to succeed in whatever way possible. The action in this book is unbearable- Sabaa Tahir is, once again, simply brilliant.

6) Lady Midnight by Cassandra ClareAnd we finally got Lady Midnight! I have a feeling this series will be my favorite of them all, if I’m being honest. For those who are clueless about the latest Cassandra Clare book, it’s a spin-off sequel trilogy to The Mortal Instruments series, following characters who fight demons in our regular world. Listen- it’s a hundred times cooler than it sounds. Trust me.

Honorable Mentions: The Young Elites by Marie Lu, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, & Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.

And there you have it folks- my 2016 wrap up! I hope you had the best year you could, and have an amazing 2017 filled with lots and lots of good books!

If you have suggestions and/or requests for book reviews, fill out the contact form here. Feel free to check out my bookstagram account, abooksavant.

Until next time!

Book Review · Contemporary

Current Read: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

22822858The tail end of this year has been a horrible one in terms of reading- I’ve been in a perpetual slump since September, so much so that I’ve completely given up on TBRs. And to think I was ambitious enough to try for 120 books this year!

With my recent Book Outlet purchase- I’m planning a haul post soon!-, I bought A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Continue reading “Current Read: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara”