How Do You Read?

Strange. She has all those books surrounding her yet she's on an ereader and her phone is lit up?

Reading is an intellectually active activity. Although while most are sedentary while doing so, reading allows your mind stretch and your imagination to explore new heights. What reading looks in the twenty-first century is very different than what it did hundreds of years ago when the first book was bound. Reading is almost unlimited now. You can read printed copies. They can downloaded in various digital formats. You can listen to them when you’re driving or jogging even. I have taken advantage of and enjoyed all of these different avenues. Nonetheless, a printed book will always be my favorite.

This year I made it a goal to begin to learn how to crochet, in which I have to use my hands quite a bit. So I have started listening to books on audible during the time that I crochet, which I enjoy much more than I thought I would. I have even started listening to books while driving and during breaks at work. I had a thought recently about reading habits while I was observing my family reading at home. I notice that my mother often reads with her headphones in, listening to something loud enough so that her attention can’t be caught unless she’s tapped. Today, I laughed when I saw younger cousin reading while sitting upside down in a chair. My sister usually lounges on her bed while she reads mystery novels, which are her recent obsession. I would say that my habits are a bit different, and perhaps it has to do with the way I experience stories in my imagination.

Reading novel, if it’s good enough, is like watching a movie. Depending on how the author writes the story, I can see the scenes so clearly in my mind by just reading the words from the pages, as if I am sitting in a seat in the cinema. Therefore, I treat reading similarly to watching a film. Preferably, I like to be alone while reading and undisputed. Having a light finger snacks and a nice drink around isn’t necessary, but enhances the experience. I don’t usually like bright lights to be on around me, since I find that it distracts me.

I do adapt myself when I am reading in other places. During work or another setting, I can’t necessarily control all the variables in my environment. Although, I find I am able to tune my surrounding out quite well if I want to– making reading not the best idea many times when I am on the job. I have tried reading outside as well, but I find temperatures, neighbors, insects to be a constant distraction for me. However, I am in most comfortable position when it’s raining, storming, or at least cloudy outside. The subtle sounds (or even noisiness) of rainfall and the soft natural white light relaxes me and allows me to achieve the perfect amount of concentration. If it is not raining, I can settle for some light piano or violin music. Then if I can have my feet up, snuggle up with a blanket or long cardigan, light up a fragrant candle, and have a warm cup of tea… I’m all set for the adventures the book before me has yet to set me upon!

My desire for the future, is to have a room dedicated completely to books and reading. The shelves would overflowing with cherished stories I read once before and others yet to sail upon the waves of my imagination. I can only dream of it now, and hope it becomes a reality someday as by small collection of books grows more and more.

I am curious, how do you read? What is your idea of a perfect reading nook? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to talk with you about it.

8/12/20

Featured

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass: A Review

Amazon.com: The Betrothed eBook: Cass, Kiera: Kindle Store
Purchase “The Betrothed” on Amazon

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dresses, kings, parties, and castles…Kiera Cass definitely has a specialty.

I am a fan of hers, as she wrote one of my favorite YA series “The Selection.” It is similar to this book in the way that it deals with a common girl’s experience with royalty. However, it is a bit different still in many ways.

In “The Betrothed” we are introduced Hollis Brite, who is a young lady from a nobel family. She has caught the attention of King Jameson, and early on in the book declares his affections for her and his intentions to make her his bride. This story is more of a fairy-tale courtly romance, full of the common royal dramas such as jealousy, parties and guests, and forbidden love. This novel appealed to my inner teenage self who loved stories like the Selection series and the Princess Diaries series, and was very excited for another castle romance. In the Kingdom of Coroa, the regal women were strong influences in their society– something Hollis longs to become as well. Therefore, her budding relationship with the most powerful man in the Kingdom could not be a perfect. It’s also her chance to prove herself to her parents and for them all to live lavishly. However, when a family of Isolten (neighboring kingdom) refugees come to the castle, their oldest son become a good friend and confidant of hers. Her court responsibilities increase and the king only become more enamored by her. Soon, what she thought she wanted her whole life is not all that it seems.

I will say that I liked this novel, but I can’t say that I liked it more than her others.

Hollis Brite, in my opinion, was a good character. She wasn’t something extraordinary, which made her relatable, but it also didn’t make her very interesting. She was a lady of the court, so while she was still a teen girl who liked to have her fun, she was able to uphold a presence of regality with her ability to entertain, conversationalism, and dress. While she seemed like she was quite aloof at first, she was able to sway the ideas of the king to allow the refugees to stay in Coroa. That was probably the part in the book when she appealed the most to me. She was a likable heroine character, although I thought she was a bit foolish at some points.

King Jameson is what I imagine a king would be. I don’t think he has bad intent, and he truly loves Hollis and would give her anything she desired. He is a bit too controlling though, an attribute derived from his late father no doubt. Silas, the eldest son of the Isolten refugee family, did not appeal to me as I hoped he would. He was kind, humorous, and understanding of Hollis difficulties as a soon to be queen. I could not quite understand the relationship between the two of them and how it became what it did. It happened a bit too fast for my liking. What I liked about him most was his skill of crafting fine armory, which became an advantage. There were other characters as well, who I found more interesting than the primary characters. I found that I really liked Silas’ younger sister, Silas’ mother, and the Queen of Isolte to be among my favorite characters. The character that I liked the least is probably Delia Grace. I just didn’t like her attitude.

I thought that the flairs of kingdoms themselves were very fascinating. There were a number of kingdoms, but I don’t remember what they all were. Coroa and Isolte were the most mentioned. They each had selected colors: Coroa was red and Isolte was blue. I appreciated that each kingdom had a strength, and wore different sorts of attire. For example, Isolte focused more on sciences. Some of rulers the kingdoms were more mild in their dealings, and others were more aggressive. I feel that Cass, as well in her other books, shines in her establishment of the realms that her novels are set in.

Overall, I would say that I liked this novel. I would not classify among my favorites, but I did enjoy it. At the end of the novel, I was left quite surprised by the shocking events that I did not anticipate whatsoever. So, I am excited for the next book. I hear it is to be a duology, so it will only have two books. I do recommend this book to Tudor fans, and fairy-tale romance story lovers.

Thanks for reading this review! If you would like to recommend any books to me, let me know in the comments! Also, follow me on goodreads here to see what I’m currently reading! Stay safe!

New World, New Destinations: A Poem

Why 'getting lost in a book' is so good for you, according to science

the horizon looked bleak

even from the start of this period

but she looked at the sky and breathed

and thought of the all places she would go

in this new world where nothing at all is sure

she knew and held to her few and only certainties

and so she went to the shelf and then dusted off a tome

and in her mind she went to places she could only dream of

these books she kept close as she endured life in the new world

for she was now beautifully lost and for once did not feel quite so alone

4/29/20

Rupi Kaur’s Poetry: A Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Poetry has always been a style of writing that I loved. I write a bit, but I have always loved reading poetry. To me, it’s a very freeing and vulnerable sort of writing. Poets reveal pieces of their hearts, convey their values and ideas, and express concepts in a often illustrative and touching way.

I have had the pleasure to read Rupi Kaur’s books, “Milk and Honey” and “The Sun and Her Flowers.” Usually, the poetry that I read is much different than Rupi’s. At times, when a poet touches a deeper concept, they don’t write about it directly. They may use figurative language to describe it and leave the reader to decide what it means. Although this style has its charm, it can lead the reader to be a little frustrated if they are not able to comprehend the meaning the poet is trying to express. However, this is not the case with Rupi.

In Kaur’s poetry, she evocatively and vulnerably describes the thoughts and feelings that come with loss, love, abuse, femininity, family, beauty, and identity. She does not hold anything back in her poems, and writes them in a language that is accessible to anyone.

In “Milk and Honey,” she cleverly sections her book into 4 portions: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, and The Healing. In the first portion, she candidly goes into her experiences and feelings of a past abuse, confusion with her identity, objectification, and neglect. In “The Loving“, it dives in with very passionate and colorful poems expressing her feelings of love, and “The Breaking” being the intense pain and desperation that comes with the loss of that love. The last portion, “The Healing,” takes a positive and empowering turn with writings about moving forward after the abuse and failed relationships. I really was found her rawness and authenticity, and how she was able to show how emotions or thoughts aren’t always easy fluid. Sometimes her poems seemed like they were taking a positive turn, but then sometimes it would drop down again to the negative. It would go back and forth at times, like an internal struggle. Her writing style seemed very psychological in that way, and I admired that.

Similarly, in “The Sun and Her Flowers,” she divides this book into five chapters: “Wilting“- which deals with grief, “Falling“- which deals with self-abandonment, “Rooting“- which goes into family struggles and honoring one’s roots, “Rising”– which dives into a new love, and “Blooming“, like “The Healing,” ends the book nicely with positive and empowering messages. I enjoyed this one a little bit more than the first, because I found many of the poems very relatable. However, I found the feminist and immigrant themes very pivotal, especially with the various issues that seem to be dividing the United States currently. Rooting was educational, and I appreciated reading about a her, a child of immigrants, pride and awe of her parents sacrifices that gave her and her siblings the opportunities and freedoms no one in any of their families generations had, specifically women. I really enjoyed reading Rising also, because I was glad seeing her move on to a new love, as scary as that can be. I found myself saying “HA!” at one of the poems where she saw her old boyfriend in the coffee shop and didn’t have a single care. That was definitely a highlight.

I would recommend these books to anyone of a mature mind, especially girls and women. Many of the poems are empowering, and even if this book is taken apart and some specific poems are selected, I think even a young child might appreciate it. However, I believe that both the books in whole are definitely better suited for who are of an reasonable age (16+ maybe), because some of the poems might be disturbing or confusing to a child.

Overall, it was truly a great read, and I am considering buying them so I can read it over and over again. Have you read “Milk and Honey” or “The Sun and Her Flowers”? Tell me what you thought of it!

Below are some of my favorite poems from Rupi, mostly from The Sun and Her Flowers.

8/8/19

Our Unrelenting Inclination

“Since I first gained the use of reason my inclination toward leaning had been so violent and strong that neither the the scolding of other people…nor my own reflections…have been able to stop me from following this natural impulse…”

Juana Ines de la Cruz

libraries

If anything had triggered progress in humanity, it is probably our innate, burning desire to know the unknown, to understand what we do not yet understand, and to grasp what may have been previously deemed indecipherable. So much has come out of this somewhat unconscious inclination.

I feel that reading satisfies this desire. With books, we are able to enjoy learning, and even experiencing (through our capable imaginations) almost a infinite number of topics. Everyone is curious about something and have questions that they want an answer to. However, we live in a world in which we have everything at our fingertips, where an answer is merely a click away. Personally, I find it much more gratifying and arousing to learn about my curiosities through a book. There’s something more magical about it, reading the lines on a page in which a writer laboriously fabricated for the motive of piquing the mind of it’s reader.

Often, our unrelenting inclination towards learning is often left unsatisfied. It’s often fear of being unpopular that I believe hinders the process of  intellectual growth. Maybe the primary way that many people may attempt seeking their mindly interests, whether they are unpopular or not, may be through a quick internet search on their smart phones. It also may because having curiosity in certain subjects is frowned upon or even rejected in their community. I have experience both firsthand. Nonetheless, I didn’t allow it to keep me from from finding books, and learning about the things that fascinated me.

If there is matter that fills your mind with wonder and intrigue, you should not allow anything from stopping you from hunting for information about it. In the end, there is are only a few thing things more rewarding than searching and finding. Personally, I recommend libraries, which are our world’s free intellectual havens and open sources of knowledge on almost anything. Pick up a book or two, and it will start you on a journey that you may have never guessed you’d be on before.

 

1|30|19