BBAW Day 5 – Burnout!

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One of the unfortunate side effects of reading and blogging like rockstars seems to be a tendency toward burnout. How do you keep things fresh on your blog and in your reading?

 

Ugh, slumps.

I’ve been in a little bit of one lately. It seems odd to say that because I have been reading a lot of comics, and I mean, A LOT (it’s #comicsfebruary after all!). But I haven’t been able to attach myself to a proper book of late.

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It’s funny as I have often used comics to get me out of a reading slump. The comics take away that emptiness that I feel after being dragged out of a book that has absorbed me for days. So to be stuck in a sorta slump while still reading lots of comics has had me puzzled for days.

Then today, I thought I would listen to an audiobook while I took a walk this morning. I am not an audiobook person and have never been successful at listening to a single audiobook all the way through. I didn’t know what to choose so I randomly picked Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein.

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I’ve not really heard much Sleater-Kinney (Brownstein’s band) and have never seen an episode of Portlandia (which Brownstein stars in), but I just wanted to listen to her read her book. And oh my, her tale of being a young teenaged fan, of going out to concerts, her dad in tow, her writing letters to celebrities. I didn’t know much about Brownstein but I definitely could relate to being a fan of music. It reminded me how it was to be so totally devoted to something. I was a teenager in the 1990s, and worshipped Pearl Jam – it was the grunge era after all.

I only listened to the first chapter and a half but I couldn’t wait until my next walk to listen to more of the book.

So why am I telling you this? It’s because I took a step out of my comfort zone and tried something different. I am not an audiobook person, I don’t know if I will listen to other audiobooks after this one, but there was just something about this morning, listening to Carrie Brownstein’s voice as she told of her teenaged years, or maybe it was the combination of the fresh air and that damp from last night’s storm, but I just felt refreshed, and I felt this need to write things down, and I feel a new desire to throw myself into a good book.

Let’s do this in point form shall we?

Some ideas on how to get over a slump from a blogger who has gone through several slumps, considered quitting blogging altogether many times, changed my blog genre a few times, learnt to ignore stats, the allure of ARCs, and hasn’t even bothered to register a custom domain name:

  • Try something new. It could be a new reading challenge, a new meme, a new genre of book
  • Or go back to an old favourite. Reread a childhood classic you once adored. That lovely heartwarming feeling may encourage you to gush about it on the blog.
  • Step away from the blog for a while. Don’t worry, it will be fine.
  • Go to your library or bookstore. Take a deep breath and know that there are so many books out there waiting to be read and appreciated or disparaged.

The life of a stay-home mum can often be a tedious one. There is a lot of routine. There is a lot in terms of hands-on activities. There is a lot of exhaustion, mental and physical. (Of course there are those sweet little moments that remind me why I do this but that’s beside the point.) And sometimes the last thing I want to do is sit at my computer and write something. But sometimes that’s the very thing I know I have to do. Because I don’t really know many other crazy reading readers in real life, and so I don’t really have other people to talk about books with. So thank you for reading this and for being part of the bookish community!

I realize that that last paragraph is a little meander away from the question of the day, but it is the last day of BBAW (my first ever!) and I’m so very glad to have taken part in this. It was just a wonderful week, plenty of books to add to my TBR list, plenty of new-to-me bloggers to discover. Thanks so much for hosting this AnaJennyHeather, and Andi!

 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week Day 4 – staying connected

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How do you stay connected to the community? Examples: social media, regular commenting, participation in blog events, etc. Tell us your faves!


For far too long I was a Lurker, a Stalker, a Reader of blogs, but never one who commented, who participated. I don’t know what held me back. Ok maybe I do. I thought my comments sounded silly.

But I’ve become a Braver Book Blogger in recent years. I’ve been a blogger who takes part in memes, in readathons, in bookish events.

So here are my favourites!

I’ve been Instagramming more in recent months and love it! Instagram is full of gorgeous photos and you know what, there are so many beautiful photos of books, bookshelves, bookstores, libraries.

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I love Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon. I hesitated for so long (how to keep up? How to stay up? How to readathon with two young kids??) before taking part for the first just a couple of years ago and it is one of the best blogging events ever. It is just so much fun. The next readathon is April 23!! Put it down in your calendars!

I wish I were a more regular commenter on my favourite blogs. I read blogs on feedly, usually on my phone, but sometimes it can be tricky writing comments on the iPhone. I really don’t know why but blogger really doesn’t like my phone because I can never comment on blogspot blogs – think it’s mostly because of the pop-ups making sure you’re human. I try to comment when I can but that’s probably not often enough.

 

I take part regularly in memes like Library Loot (hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief) and It’s Monday, what are you reading? (this started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date). I haven’t been as regular this year with Weekend Cooking, which the lovely Beth hosts but I’ll try to get back on that again soon. And #comicsfebruary is also fantastic! And in the past two Decembers, I’ve taken part in A Month of Faves, hosted by Traveling with TEstella’s Revenge, and GirlXOXO.

I was going to say I don’t really do readalongs much then I remembered the time when Trish made us read did a Drood readalong!

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I keep track of my books on Goodreads and also take part in some reading challenges. This year I’m taking part in Back to the Classics, #readmyowndamnbooks, Diversity on the Shelf, and the Non-fiction Reading ChallengeI also look forward to reading events like Readers Imbibing in Peril!

BBAW Day 3 – Bloggers made me read these

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What have you read and loved because of a fellow blogger?

Oh. So very many books! I don’t even know where to begin. In fact, I would say that 75% of the books that I add to my TBR list these days come from book blogger recommendations. The other 25% includes other sources like publishers’ newsletters or simply when I’m wandering around libraries or bookstores and spot something interesting.

 

Buried in Print has introduced me to so many Canadian authors – unfortunately, a lot of them aren’t available at my library! Barbara Gowdy’s The White Bone is one of those that I did find – and adored!

JoV at Bibliojunkie introduced me to Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X

I picked up Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero after reading Andi’s post. Andi has also introduced me to lots of new comics!

Eva (now blogging at The Charm of It) was the person who introduced me to the awesome NK Jemisin.
I wouldn’t have heard of Zen Cho, Bitch Planet, Ms Marvel, if it weren’t for all you lovely book bloggers out there!
I know I owe thanks to far more than these few, I really need to keep better track of whose blog I get recommendations from, but it’s harder nowadays because I follow so many great blogs (River City Reading; Sarah’s Book ShelvesLiterary Lindsey etc)

Oh and I have added so many books to my list from people I follow on Instagram (I’m at olduvaireads if you are!).

 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week – An Interview with Shanaya Tales

 

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Hello! On this second day of BBAW, here is my interview with fellow book blogger Shantala of Shanaya Tales. 

I hadn’t come across Shantala’s blog before we were paired for these BBAW interviews. But I love discovering new-to-me blogs and it was interesting to learn how many things we had in common. I’m really glad I got the chance to talk to Shantala and learn more about her and her blog.

 

Describe your blog in five words.

These are the 5 words that I hope all my posts are – Positive, Informative, Helpful, Engaging and Fun (but of-course I am biased, even in my hope *wink wink*).

What is your favorite thing about blogging? 

This one is easy. My favorite thing about blogging is the opportunity to connect and interact with book lovers all around the world! When I first started my blog, it was essentially meant to be an online journal that documented my silent reading life, but it soon became this gateway that connected me to the virtual bookish world, and I can’t begin to describe the joy it has brought in my life.

Which of the following best describes you – book buyer/book borrower/book hoarder?

I used to be a hoarder, until the unread books on my TBR started to overwhelm me, but since then, I have successfully reigned in my hoarding tendencies. As of now, it is a pretty even split between buying and borrowing (from the library), but I try to borrow books as much as possible, mostly because I have to keep a check on book-buying, lest it gives way to my hoarding tendencies.

Please describe your favorite reading spot. 

My bed – there is no contest, whatsoever!

 As a mom to a young child, how do you balance reading, book blogging, and parenting (and all the many other things)?

It is a balancing game, and it used to be much more difficult when my son was at home full time, but since last fall, he started going to preschool, which freed up a lot of my day time, that I now dedicate to blogging. Reading has always been at bed-time, and that has never interfered with my day time activities and responsibilities (unless the book is absolutely unputdownable!).

Having said that, on the days that my son is home, he is my priority, and everything else is secondary.

Have you always loved reading? What were some of your favorite books growing up? 

Yes, as far back as I can remember, I have always loved to read. But the book/series that got me into reading consistently was the Harry Potter Series by J.K.Rowling. I literally grew up with the series, and that is why it dominates a large part of my childhood/teens.

 

As we’re both relatively recent residents of the US, has your move to US changed how or what you read?

 This is an interesting question, and one that I have never been asked before. Interestingly, till I moved to US, I had not read many (if any) Indian authors, and I had lived in India for the first 25 years of my life. I had read some historical scripts, but not much in the way of commercial books. Once I moved to US, I delved into the genre of Indian Historical Fiction, and I fell in love with it; it is now one of my favorite genres to read. But outside of this, my reading preferences have remained unchanged.
You can find Shantala’s interview with me here

Thank you so much Shantala! Happy BBAW!

BBAW Day One – Books r Us

 

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You know, I have been blogging for quite a long time now but this is the first time I’m taking part in BBAW! This was started by Amy (My Friend Amy) and the reins have now been handed over to AnaJennyHeather, and Andi who are just doing an awesome job at it!

So here’s day one!

Introduce yourself by telling us about five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle.


The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye – Sonny Liew (my thoughts) 

  • comics / graphic novel lover
  •  Singaporean
  • (somewhat) anti-establishment (at least with regards to Singapore) – this book had its government-related funding pulled because of its content

 

 

The Earthsea Quartet – Ursula K Le Guin

One of my all-time favourite books ever since I was a teenager. Speaks also to my love of the fantasy genre.

 

 

Sous Chef – Michael Gibney

For the food nerd in me.
 The Hand that First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell

Might be a bit of a strange pick but I remember when reading this novel that it reflected a lot of what I felt like to be a new mum.

 

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Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller

I picked this fifth book not because I know what it is like to live in the woods or anything that remotely has to do with the actual content of this story. But simply because, this book reflects that fact that I am a reader. I had this library book with me while I waited for several hours one weekday afternoon at the Social Security office. The hard plastic seats, the people next to me, the horrendous sound system announcing the next number, I could forget all that because I had a book with me.