Hello Again

So the time to go back to school has come, and a week into my last ever year of school I have already decided that it’d be for the best if the day consisted of approximately 80 hours because there simply isn’t the time in a usual day to do everything that is required of me at this stage in my school career, whilst maintaining a stable sleeping schedule and generally fulfilling the daily tasks of a typical human being….

It is now December, and whilst most of the above still stands largely true, I have decided to finally complete this post. Which is more motivation than I have had in the last 5 months combined. This school year has taken a lot out of me – so much in fact that I haven’t touched a book since the end of August which I know is shameful and I should be totally ashamed. I have not had a worse time in regard to mental health than I am having right now. But I’ve also decided that that shouldn’t be able to prevent me from doing things I like doing.

Medical applications now in, I have also completed all my entry exams, which could have gone better admittedly – but I have also had the time and support to come to terms with the fact that they do not stop me from getting to what I want in life, which is a life full of the ability to help people on a daily basis. That stress being over, I expected my head to feel lighter – and I guess in some ways it does, but not blogging has been weighing me down.

So despite the immense sea of incredibly important exams that is now before me, I am going to try to read one book per week (or fortnight, because sometimes my brain can’t handle much more than too many hours of Netflix or naps).

And I know I’ve promised this before, I’ve promised to come back and read and blog time and time again. But this time I am not going to pressure myself so much – I’ve learned and I’ve come up with solutions to problems which have played a big part in my life in the last few months and this is one of these. Blogging isn’t my chore – it is something that I want to be able to do and come home to relax once in a while. Therefore I cannot promise a steady schedule – for I don’t believe that I will keep to it but I can promise to have something to say more often than once in a good few months.

I am also considering more seriously setting up a separate page about my journey into the medical world on this blog – and whilst I know that it wouldn’t appeal to all of my current audience – I know that you will all be understanding about it. And I hope that perhaps it’d help anyone on the same road as I am currently travelling because admittedly – I am not handling it as well as I thought I would be able to – and it isn’t an easy road at all.

So this is me, and my (grand???) return. I just hope this good-feel spell continues and I will be able to keep to it better this time.

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A Summer Half Gone Update

So I guess this is an update post of sorts, haven’t done one of these in a while.

I missed YALC this year, for those from the land across the pond whom may have no idea what it is (although I am aware that some people make their way here for it) , it’s basically the British equivalent of BEA, but it’s YA galore. So I missed that, mainly because I currently have a lot of dates with trying to persuade myself that it’s not worth giving up on the medicine dream, and trying to study for the upcoming 2 hour hell that I’ve booked to sit on the 18th of September; the hell is called the UKCAT, and is basically the test that most universities look for when distinguishing between candidates… And let me tell you, I do not want to see more circles and squares in my life or Venn diagrams for that matter.

But also because I just didn’t think I would be up for it life and self-wise – I’m generally struggling a wee bit when it comes to motivation, and I think the lack of posts on this blog illustrates that very well. I will, however, try to at least keep the Saturday posts going – I know I missed a weekend, but it was a busy weekend so I hope I’m forgiven.

Book wise, I actually haven’t felt the need to buy books in a while. I think the last title to appear on my shelves was Lord of Shadows which I didn’t even buy for myself… But I did receive City of Circles by Jess Richards courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton/ Sceptre which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

Overall, I can’t say this summer feels much like a summer at all, with various trainings, courses and now regular shifts at a local-ish hospice – I think that’s something I’m going to have to get used to as I transition out of the routine of school and enter “the real world” as some people like to call it.

So yeah,  this blog will not be abandoned – fear not. i'll be back.gif

The Book Smell

Whether old or new, we’ve all probably smelled a book at some point or another… I mean, who can help themselves when they just smell so darn good? book smell

And I do mean all books, despite the fact that they’re all quite distinct in their scent – whether it be an old book, new book, library book or textbook (and you cannot tell me that textbooks don’t have a particular scent of their own, they do, and often I associate it with long, long, depressing hours spent pouring over them the night before exams) people seem to have different opinions over which smell they prefer.

And then there are the people who are adamant that books either smell of nothing or don’t smell good at all… and I guess it’s a free world and they’re welcome to have that opinion. But I think that we can agree that products such as the Book scent by Commodity and the Paper Passion perfume just wouldn’t exist and people wouldn’t spend exuberant amounts to smell of a mixture of paper and ink if there wasn’t something enticing about the smell.  Of course, if you want to smell of book but don’t want to spend such amounts on a bottle of liquid – there are more affordable scents such as this one by The Library of Fragrance which do the job just as well.

And of course being the overly curious nerd that I am, I have actually researched the reason behind one of my favourite smells to find that the difference in smells is caused by the varying chemicals given off by books as they age, older books tend to have more lignin (a chemical which reinforces the structure of the tree) which produces the slightly vanilla-like smell that accompanies the muskiness that we relate to old novels. New books differ more in their scents as the development in book printing has meant a greater range of chemicals can potentially be used – meaning that not all new books will have the same smell.

The science aside though, the scent of books can also be changed by the people they have been in contact with – library books being a great example of that, and I think it’s almost like they carry a part of their owners in themselves which is a quite nice notion really.

Do you have a favourite book smell? Or do books not smell like anything to you, or maybe, just maybe you haven’t lived and smelled a book before? Is there a book scent that you do not like?

Tell me in the comments below 🙂

“I stepped into the bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that strangely no one had ever thought of bottling.” 

– The Angels Game, Carlos Ruiz Zafon

SO I WENT ON A TOO LONG HIATUS

So this post is an apology of sorts I guess, at one point during the last few months I went through a period of just not wanting to post – I would use the excuse of exams, I really would, but my real AS level exams totalled to a small number of 3; and started and were over with before I even knew it… As for mocks, they did add a bit of stress to the whole ordeal, and they’re not over yet – and yet I’m still writing this post so clearly… I really can’t blame school for my hiatus. shame.gif

At points I wished to have a slightly psychotic nun above me forcing me to do a metaphorical blogging walk of shame, but I didn’t and so  I dragged my absence out a little more than I intended to.

And honestly, at the start of it all I didn’t expect it to last so long, but I’m also not going to lie – at some points I didn’t expect to be returning at all. It seemed as though all the joy was sucked completely out of reading and blogging followed suit. And voilà! It resulted in a very demotivated Ola and no new content on the blog…

 But with time I discovered that I didn’t have to limit myself to the books I had been given to review (and often prioritised over books which I actually wanted to read for my own personal satisfaction, because y’know – logic) and discovered a new genre that it turns out I actually really like reading,  which is not only good because it helped me get back into reading, but because it involves medical and scientific books it will also help me with my chosen career path – so it basically did a very good job at killing two important birds with one stone.

Speaking of medical books and medicine, I might post a review of the books I come across from that genre here and there from now on, and I might start documenting my own journey into the medical world, as long and as complicated it may get – but who knows, maybe someone out there will relate to it, maybe it can help someone. But most importantly, I’d like to have something to look back to.

But of course, I am not about to forget the real reason for which this blog was created, to share my passion for reading – and now to share my journey to refinding and refueling that passion. I did come up with some ideas for an original series of posts that I might do at one point or another which will allow me to get my creative juices flowing – which is also something I’ve greatly missed during my leave.

In basic terms, I want this blog to feel like something that I actually created again, and not something pieced together from posts I was in a way, obliged to do. I think I’m ready to come back to this blogging thing, but this time – it will be on my own terms.

A huge thank you to those who stuck around during my little blunder – I will try my very very best to not disappear without a warning again.

“Per Aspera Ad Astra”

Red Rising, Pierce Brown

10 Things You Should NEVER Say To A Bookworm

So quite a while back now I had a rather unpleasant encounter with one of my teachers at my old school… Quite ironically, the little witch (that word would usually start with a different letter) taught me English… And although I usually respect my elders, and of course teachers belong to that ‘category’ – she evokes a feeling of hatred and apathy for all things English related when I see her wonderfully sickening bright green coat appear on the horizon (although this year the coat seemed to have been replaced with a slightly toned down grey one – my eyes are thankful for whatever happened for her to make that change).

During a meeting of this particularly rude individual with my father and I, she seemed it was entirely appropriate to say that I am by far too studious, and reading (and blogging) is not a hobby I should not be doing as it “is not relaxing and you should think about doing sports such as tennis or swimming”.

i beg your pardon julie andrews

I couldn’t help it, I got defensive and proceeded to tell her that blogging and reading are perfectly good hobbies which are more beneficial, and potentially life-saving (seeing as I have yet to master the art of swimming) than her choices off pastime whilst making a mental note to ignore her future “advice”.

But the moment I got back home, I was somewhat inspired So I guess sometimes good things do come out of awful situations, go figure.


So here are 10 things you shouldn’t say to a bookworm based on my own experience…

10. “Ew, you read? Isn’t that like, boring?” 

Yes, yes, I do – and your invalid opinion will do nothing to change that. Also, since when is visiting other countries or maybe even dimensions boring?

09. “Don’t you have enough books? No more books for you.” 

If you try to stop me from placing 12 new books on my TBR…. well, good luck to you my friend because you’re in for a quest and a bit… it’s not going to be a fun one either. Please just don’t try, for your own good and my sanity.

08. “What’s your favourite book?”

You mean my favourite 20? You do not understand I cannot pick just one. That’s almost like  much worse than picking a favourite child. I can give you maybe a top 3-5 from each genre? That will have to suffice. Buckle up, we’re gonna be here for a long while.

07. “Oh that title, I watched the film instead/ prefered the film…”

Whilst you get a bit of credit in my eyes if this particular title is one of my favourites it is unlikely that I am going to applaud you for not realising that the book is most probably much, much better. Or that a book existed to begin with. Or denying the fact that the book might be better because films tend to miss out the best bits and generally don’t tend to convey everything the book does in a satisfying way? (Honestly directors and casting crew, I beg you… get your crap together – I’d much rather watch a perfect adaptation after waiting a long time for it, even if it meant sitting in the cinema for a solid four hours and paying an exorbitant amount, that’s the sacrifice I’d be willing to make to watch my favourite titles come to life before me.)

06.

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I mean yes, we all get intimidated by big books sometimes. But that sort of reaction? Nu uh. We see a big book, we conquer it and move onto the next one – it’s like a mountain you see, you don’t just plonk your ass down half way and be done with it. You climb that mountain to the bloody peak and take in the view (even though in the bookworm’s case the view is the TBR pile which has slowly taken over all the floor room in every room of the house…)

05. “Wait… wait, you skipped that party on Friday to read?”

You mean you skipped reading time to get wasted and have a hangover the next day? Yeah… not my idea of fun. Thanks but no thanks, you’re dismissed.

04. “I prefer *insert book format here*”

Well isn’t that great, now consider this: I read all of them…. I know, I know. A wild concept that may be. But ebooks are great to take everywhere with me on a daily basis, my Kindle is my child and I actually cried real tears when my old Kindle broke. Paperbacks, well I have so many of them it seems like I like them, they smell good and are generally an alright substitute for the kings of the book formats (or at least in my opinion) the HARDBACKS. If I could afford it (but then who can when they’re broke and going to stay that way for the foreseeable future given the fact that they’re departing into studentland in the next two years) I would have an entire library full of just hardbacks. But we can’t always have what we want, so we make do. Now shh and consider the fact that not everyone is you.

03. “I want you to read *insert title here* chapters 1-whatever for homework, due next week”

DON’T. Please I beg you, don’t torture me so. School has ruined so many books for me like that, starting with The Woman In Black and ending with Tuck Everlasting and Private Peaceful from good ol’ Year 7 Reading Lists – this is the primary reason I dropped English when going to study A-Levels… other than the fact that it’d be useless in the areas I want to go into in the future.

02. “Uhm…I don’t know where the book you let me borrow is / I’m sorry, it’s a bit ripped/stained/bent/crinkled.”

Honestly at this point just keep it, unless it has been ruined by the tears of baby Jesus and the blood of a pegasus (yes, both are required) just don’t bother returning it. Also, do not expect me to let you borrow another book ever again, not after I misplaced my trust in your abilities to not ruin them – especially if this is one of my signed editions. When I let you borrow a book – just know that this is probably one of the utmost levels of trust I could give you, don’t make me regret it.

01. “IT’S JUST A BOOK”

Yeah, no. That’s where you’re wrong my friend. books are adventure.gif

And no, I will not stop crying, or smiling like a slightly crazed mental asylum inhabitant from the 1800s whilst reading. That’s how I tell the good books from the great books, okay? You’re going to have to accept that. And book hangovers are a thing too, let me experience them.


So this post was a result of a slightly annoyed me, but it also allowed me to vent my anger and channel it into my reading/bookworm pet peeves so that was actually quite nice of it.

Do you have any bookish pet peeves or have you been on the receiving end of any of those phrases? How do you deal with annoying people who don’t understand your love for reading? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

Discussion: Blogging Burnout

SO this has actually been an issue of mine for quite a long while now and I guess that this post is also an update of sorts as well as a discussion.

I do not know why, or how, or when but at some point along the line I have started viewing this whole blogging thing as a chore more than anything else.

The enjoyment of it seeped out, leaving me where I am currently: unable to think of ideas for more original content (instead of just reviews, although those seem to be received quite well by my audience – so big thanks for that) and with very little will to blog at all – because without new ideas, is there really a point?

BUT for some reason I cannot bring myself to do anything about it – I’ve heard of people taking hiatuses to focus on their lives, and if  I was being honest I could probably do with one of those seeing as there are a lot of things going on at the moment. From deciding my entire future in the next 6 months and keeping my grades up to a high enough standard to allow me to pursue my aspirations in medicine, to my private life and all the issues that may arise in that from time to time, one could definitely say that I have quite a lot on my plate. And okay, maybe in retrospect this period of my life won’t seem at all that bad but currently, it is a lot to deal with and I can’t say I feel like I’m doing a good job balancing the whole thing.

And yet even with all that going on in the background, I still continue to write my blog – so maybe not all hope is lost in that respect. Although in recent days I have also hit a major reading slump to the point where it has now basically been two entire weeks since I touched a book…. which, uh… yeah doesn’t help the feeling of utter uselessness when in comes to this whole blogging thing.

So I guess the real point of this post was to open it up to you guys: have you ever experienced something similar to my situation, or maybe just a plain old blogging burnout? How did you deal with it – are there any tips that you would tell your past self now that could possibly help me as well? 

Book Review: Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

Synopsis:radio-silence-cover

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.


I received an e-copy of this book courtesy of HarperCollins UK, Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So finally,  it has come.

The review of my favourite book of last year and my favourite read for a very, very long time. Why it has taken me so long to review it, I don’t really have an answer to that; I could only suggest the fact that this book was such an incredible masterpiece that has stayed seared in my brain for so long after reading it that I could not even begin to fathom words that would do it justice. And I still cannot, but this post is going to be a crude attempt at doing so.

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And feels there were. I am pretty sure I actually cried for a good portion of the story, but with good cause.

Oseman crafted such realistic, diverse and relatable characters it really didn’t take long for me to become attached to them with no way of turning back. And I loved every single one of them.

Frances was a brilliant protagonist (and it was also great to see that she, unlike many other YA protagonists out there had a very supportive, unicorn-onesie-wearing mother in her life to care for her), I think she portrayed the struggles of teenagers in Britain’s sixth forms remarkably well. I mean, with the first-hand experience of how attending one of said institutions feels like – I can definitely confirm that a good percentage of the ‘smart’ individuals definitely have multiple crises a week…

Which in turn leads me to my next point. I honestly feel like thanking Oseman for her realistic take on the British (and probably global) education system. It was not sugar-coated in the slightest – there was failure, it was also shown how easy it is to be deemed a failure; especially by relatives when following a path in life that they do not quite approve of or not wanting to follow a path that they do… This book also dealt with the pressures put on students by the schools themselves, which of course do not help at all when trying to deal with the whole ‘life’ thing whilst being told that it “only gets worse in the real world” whereas, in all fairness, the hardest years will probably be over once school and university for those who want to attend it are over and done with.

Back to the characters, their relationship was so bloody refreshing. A book based solely on the ideas of friendship is rare, especially where there is potential for some romantic chemistry to occur. I mean Frances was bisexual and Aled identified as asexual, so there was basically no reason for them not to get together other than the fact that their relationship was entirely platonic. THANK YOU SO MUCH BOOK GODS FOR FINALLY ANSWERING MY PRAYERS FOR AN AUTHOR WHO FINALLY UNDERSTANDS THAT TWO TEENAGERS OF OPPOSITE SEX CAN BE FRIENDS WITHOUT WANTING TO GET INTO EACH OTHER’s PANTS AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER.

Their friendship was honestly flawlessly written, whilst still possessing flaws – there were fights and disagreements but it was clear that there was a lot of platonic love between them, and paired with understanding and a general love of similar things – they made a wonderful pair.

This book was definitely not an easy read, with the aforementioned reflections on the education system – but also with the general works of being a teenager and trying to find yourself whilst simultaneously losing yourself in the process whilst trying to overcome all the other hardships that life will throw in your way such as familial issues, and general not knowing what to do which comes quite often as a teenager in present-day society which inadvertently pressurises us to get our metaphorical shit together and adult slightly before we are actually ready to in a lot of cases. I mean – deciding what I want to do with my life at 16? No thanks… I’d much rather not, but unfortunately, there is just no escaping it.

I loved every single thing about this book, down to the way in which it was written, the style was easy to read and made the 470 page book shrink down into one sitting of just over an hour and a bit…. The transcripts were a brilliant addition, and I honestly felt as though I could hear Aled speaking when reading them. The concept of Universe City was truly brilliant (have I used the word brilliant enough in this post??) and whilst it definitely made me cry towards the end, I appreciated the messages which it carried.

Also, may we talk about how bloody realistic and relatable this book generally was? Oseman honestly did a brilliant job, and I think that is partly due to her age – there were honestly so many points during the novel at which I simply felt like saying “same” or “that’s me and so and so” and I honestly don’t think enough books have gotten that sort of reaction out of me, so huge HUGE kudos to the brilliant author.

One thing that actually had me bouncing with excitement was the fact that this book was actually set in my home town’s surrounding area. The descriptions of the highstreet and its cobblestone streets rang a bell whilst reading, but it didn’t fully click why it was a little bit too familiar until I found out Oseman’s origins. This in turn left me a wee bit inspired and with hope that I too may be able to create similar wonderful things with my writing if I stick with it… so I guess this is a huge personal thank you for her from me too.

I could easily continue, but I feel as though it would be boring and many of the next points would be bordering on spoilery, so I am going to end my review here. I hope that many of you who read it will choose to embark on the journey that this book provides, because it truly is an extraordinary one that I will likely never forget.

My Rating: More than 5 / 5 Stars

“And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”