July Book Haul!

It’s the last day of July! This month seemed really long, and I managed to only acquire seven books. I got two for free, four for a discount, and one via Book Riot for the Riot Read. That’s pretty good for me! August is the ‘Emily doesn’t get paid’ month, so it should be interesting to see how I do with that.

Also, on a semi-related note, I purged my personal library and I’m getting rid of 20+ books. *pats self on back*

Here are the books, from top to bottom:

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman-I’ve read parts of this book at random times. I’m planning on reading it straight through in September with my friend Mike. It’s being made into a TV show, too! I love the spines of the anniversary editions and plan on getting them in some of his other books, too.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult- I started this book on audio and really enjoyed it, but had to return it to the library before I could finish. It was a whole $5 at B&N, so I bought it.

Thrive by Ariana Huffington- I chose this book to review for Blogging For Books. I don’t usually read stuff like this, so it’ll be a nice change of pace.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi- My friend Kristina loves this book and I had never read it, or any graphic novel for that matter. It was excellent.

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne- another one I received from Blogging For Books. You can check out my review here.

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel- a beautiful hardcover that’s on sale?! It’s hard to say no…

Landline by Rainbow Rowell- I joined the Riot Read and this was the first selection. I’m excited to start reading it!

My Book Club Is More Awesome Than Your Book Club

I was scrolling through the stories on Huffington Post’s book section (as I do on a regular basis) and there was a headline that read ‘Book Clubs Are Badass.’ I immediately clicked on it because I myself am a member of an awesome book club. 

The author of this post basically describes things about book clubs that make them cool, mentioning clever names for the group, intense discussions, and secretly ousting annoying members. Then, at the end of the post, the author confesses to not being in a book club. So basically it was an outsider’s opinion of book clubs, which are badass, but she totally missed the point on what makes them badass. 

Or maybe she’s just not a member of my awesome book club. 

I have to give credit to my dear friend Sophia for recruiting me and six other awesome ladies into the book club, and my new friend Lyndsey for the idea. Book club has been one of those things that just makes my life better, and anyone who is not in a book club like mine is sorely missing out, and here is why:

1) All the women in my book club are smart, 21st-century women 

Seriously, there is not a dull bulb among us, and this is the factor that provides for excellent conversation. 

High-fives because we’re awesome.

2) When we disagree, we’re respectful 

It’s seriously awesome how we are always willing to hear each other out on our differing opinions. Though we usually agree on most big issues, we’re not scared to voice our opinions, or ask the other questions about her thought process. 

Exactly, Kanye. Exactly.

3) We have good food and good wine (or beer, if you’re Allie) 

We like to eat and sip the vino, what can I say? 

Me at every book club.

4) We never run out of things to talk about 

Every book picked, whether we liked it or not, provided excellent conversation…even if we’re talking about how horrible it was.

Sometimes, you’re just not going to like the book.

5) We’re there for each other when you’re boyfriend leaves you stranded in the rain, both literally and figuratively 

At first I feel like this….

When I have a bad day, I forget about it all whenever I see the book club gals. There’s just too much laughing and talking to do. 

...but then I feel like this.

…but then I feel like this.

What can I say? I guess I was blessed by the book club gods with a supportive bunch. I feel bad for the author of the HuffPost article because she’ll never see how truly awesome a book club can be. 

 

A New Way to Think About Journaling

When I was nine years old, I went to Disney World, had a glorious time, and brought back a lot of souvenirs. Among them was a black and white Mickey Mouse journal. This is really the only artifact I still have from that trip, probably because it sits at the bottom of a giant cardboard box, with many more journals resting on top of it.

I’ve been a life-long journaler, telling the pages of my woes; moving, discovering boys, gaining weight, starting high school, unrequited love, health struggles, and deciding where to go to college.

I tried journaling my freshman year at Xavier, but it slowly tapered off thanks to a busy schedule, the introduction of Facebook to my daily life, and the simple fact that I mostly journaled at night and I was stumbling back to the dorm after a party on the weekends or too exhausted during the week to write.

I regret this in my post-grad years. I claimed I was busy, but I think I stayed away from journaling fearing it would force me to dwell on negative thoughts and out of sheer embarrassment. I felt like I had to tell my journal everything, and I did not want to rehash the details of drunken decisions. 

Recently, I’ve been reading up on writing and the importance of keeping a journal. It’s changed my perception completely. I had started journaling again about two years ago because I thought it would help with my constant life-questioning. Many articles encourage the writer to just write about what’s on their mind—hold nothing back, just include the date, and don’t get hung up on things like grammar and spelling, and don’t feel obligated to include anything. It was freeing to read those tips. 

But then there was one tip that struck fear into my heart. 

“Go back and read your previous entires.”

Yes, that’s right.

Re-read your diary.

It’s a cringeworthy concept, huh? I definitely thought so. It’s only recently that I’ve summoned the gumption to do this regularly, but I’m trying to make a point of it. All the sources said it would be good to mine those previous entries for a beautiful turn of phrase or an idea for future writing. I totally get the benefits, but it doesn’t mean I like to do it. It’s like a constant reminder of how emotional I can be, or about things that upset me and I got over. Plus, I can barely read my own handwriting sometimes.

Some parts of the creative, or artistic life are a process and won’t come easily. This is a thing that life seems to be teaching me over and over again.

How about you, lovely readers. Do you journal regularly? Better yet, do you ever go back and read old entries? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me @EmHof.

Have a happy 4th! Until after the holiday weekend, I’m out!