The 8 Best Things about Bookish Roommates

Perks of Bookish Roomies

Living with your best friends is one of the greatest things about being an independent young adult! You get to be ridiculous together all the time. You binge-watch shows together late into the night. You have each others’ backs and figure out household problems as a team, which makes overcoming challenges that much more satisfying.

I’ve been lucky enough to live with two of my best friends. And–even better–both of those friends are total book nerds, just like me!

I met Noelle and Matt four years apart, but the very first conversation I ever remember having with each of them was about reading. Isn’t that the foundation of all great friendships? Our bonds over bookishness not only made us super close, but also provided a few sweet benefits to the roommate situation!

Now that I (sadly) live several hours away from both of them, here are some of the perks of living with book lovers that I miss the most.

Page break divider banner

Your bookshelf game is always the best

Picture-perfect shelves are a real point of pride in the bookish community. Reader roommates mean double the shelf space, double the books, and double the bookish goodies! Noelle and I put all of our favorites on the bookshelf in the main living space of our apartment and then decked it out with her Harry Potter bookends and my jar of Honeydukes peppermints.

They appreciate ambiance

Who else pays attention to making sure the lighting, seating, and furniture arrangements are ideal for cozying up with a novel and a cup of tea? Another reader, that’s who.

Reading time gets respect

You can usually trust another bookworm to not constantly interrupt your reading by trying to start conversations with you. You would think that would be common sense, but sometimes non-readers just don’t get it.

Me and Noelle at Nemo Seas Epcott cropped

Friends who swim together, stay together.

They’ve got top-notch recommendations…

Your life-in BFF is bound to know you better than just about anyone, so you can definitely count on them to recommend books that suit your tastes.

…and they stretch your reading boundaries!

Even though they’ve got your taste in books down to a T, reader roomies have their own preferences, and they’re not shy about getting you out of your comfort zone. Matt tends to read science-fiction, horror, and epic fantasy, so he’s always full of suggestions outside of my standard YA fantasy TBR list. And Noelle? She’s one of two people in the world that can sell me on a non-fiction book.

You get a live-in lending library

Remember those epic shared shelves? Having all of your roommate’s books at your fingertips is super convenient for borrowing books. Lucky for me, the libraries of Matt & Noelle don’t ever have fees for overdue loans!

Page break divider banner

They’re always there to listen

Me n Matt as Sea Turtles

I honestly don’t know why I’m wearing this shirt in basically every picture??

Raving and ranting are two cornerstones of book blogging emotions. Maybe it’s just me, but sharing your intense feelings about all things bookish is way more satisfying in person. When you live with another book lover, you’ve automatically got someone around who understands exactly how you feel and can totally commiserate. Literally my entire experience while reading Sarah J. Maas’s Queen of Shadows was me reading another chapter, being shocked, and shouting across the apartment at Matt, “DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN?!?!?

You share the best moments

Sometimes, getting to share the best parts of the reading experience means making the best memories.

It took me years to convince Noelle to read The Raven Boys. Literally, years. When she finally decided to read it over a break one year in college, she quickly became as obsessed as I am and tore through the first three books in the series in the span of a week. That left only The Raven King, which had yet to be released at the time. It also meant that we got to wait for the final book together. When the finale was released, we drove to the bookstore and bought what ended up being the last two copies in the whole store. One left for each of us, like it was meant to be.

Page break divider banner

We put off the inevitable conclusion for a few months, re-reading the earlier books while working summer jobs and struggling through one of the worst heat waves on record for the area we lived in. Finally, when we were reaching the end of our time being able to live together, we sat down in Noelle’s bedroom, books in hand. Starting after dinner, we read The Raven King together, chapter by chapter. Whoever finished a chapter first would wait at the end and we exchanged commentary before moving on to the next chapter. As the hours moved past midnight and we crept farther into the book, we were both so engrossed in the story that we’d reach the end of the chapter, give each other a look of horror and too many emotions, then nod and keep going. At the very end, we cried together and hugged out the feels.

There’s nothing better than sharing the books you love the most with the people you love the most.

Page break divider banner

The bonus perk of bookish roommates is that you’ve got something in common to keep you close, even when you’re far away. Matt and Noelle are still my go-to people for all things reading related.

The other bonus perk of BFFs who love books is that sometimes you can rope them into writing guest posts! Matt’s been working on not one, but two guest book reviews, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Do you enjoy the benefits of living with book lovers? Are there any downsides that I’m forgetting in my nostalgia? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Advertisements

Blogiversary, of Sorts

cropped-books-918521_1280.jpg

Today is a nice day.

I’m (mostly) moved into my new place. I start my new job tomorrow. It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that I live here, now. Next week I won’t find myself back in my old apartment, back at my old job.

Today, according to WordPress, is also my one year blogging anniversary. On this day, I sat out on the front porch and set up my WordPress account and dedicated hours to creating a blog. (Two blogs, actually. My nature writing blog is currently defunct. This one didn’t launch until December, but was still created back then.)

I remember brainstorming for my bio and coming up with a silly list of goals to go at the end. After all, what’s more illustrative of a person’s heart than who they want to be? The list had three items on it: Continue reading

The Typewriter Project: Perspective

the-typerwiter-project1

I totally spaced out and missed the first round of the Typewriter Project, a creative writing challenge hosted by Mahriya @ MyBookishLife, but I’m getting in just before the buzzer for round #2! The theme of this week is perspective, an often overlooked aspect of writing. Where your story is coming from changes the kind of story it ends up being, and the perspective you choose is the filter through which your writing passes.

For this second installment of the Typewriter Project, Lia @ Lost in a Story did a guest post for Mahriya on the different types of perspective you can write in and how to write using perspective creatively. Keeping with the theme, Task #2 was to write the opening of a story using a unique perspective. I went with a perspective that I certainly never would have thought to use if not for this challenge!

It began and ended as it always does: with a fall.

He fell quickly. Countless times I have heard people describe a fall as though the fabric of time tore away from the pattern of warp and weft and went null; as though the world ceased to exist except for that one, unending event. This is never the case. Each and every human who has ever tripped or slipped, jumped or dropped, has fallen under my hand in the exact same fashion. They fall quickly.

I watched Roan Messinger plummet precisely as humans do, albeit from a drastically greater height than most. I stared him down as he twisted through the breathless, sickening rush of open sky, and I did nothing. As always, I remained: infinitely able to intervene, and unrelentingly unwilling to do so.

It was possible, you see. It was well within my power to suspend him in midair, to suspend that awful moment of impact. But to save one soul from the crushing pull of the ground, to release my grip on one tiny piece of the cosmos for but a moment, would have risked everything slipping from my grasp, and the world depends on me. My strength and will, my gravitas, create your gravity. The fate of all things rests upon me binding them together, and upon that force never failing.

If ever there was a human I would have risked it for, it was him. For as surely as gravity predicts the future of the world, in that fleeting, tumbling moment, the future also hung upon the shoulders of a boy falling out of the sky.

Of a boy running out of time.

The perspective? First person, from gravity personified as the narrator.

What do you think? Are you also participating in the Typewriter Project? Have you read any books with wildly creative perspectives included? Drop me a line; I’d love to know!

Mini-Discussion: Reading/Writing Spots!

Good evening, all! I am writing to you from my official new favorite reading and blogging spot: my cheery, fish-and-rainbow patterned hammock hung on my brand new hammock stand!

I live in a second story apartment with a cute little balcony. It’s shadowed by two mature sweet gum trees. From here, my horizon is the swathe of pines that wrap around the backside of the buildings across the street. Even though the woods back there are hardly deeper than I can throw a frisbee (which really is not that far), when I’m cocooned in my hammock, I feel surrounded by nature.

Tonight I’m writing to the rhythm of the last, puttering raindrops from today’s storm front and the summertime trills and croons of gray tree frogs. When I get to write outside, I feel more true to myself and my voice, more in my element. When I read outside, it’s the epitome of relaxation and the most enjoyable version of my bookish experience.

Is there any particular place where you love to read and/or write? I feel like setting can be almost as important to the reading and writing processes as it is to a book, so I’m very curious to know whether or not you’ve got a special reading spot!

Bonus pic: a Cope’s Gray Treefrog I found out and about earlier!


A Spoonful of Change

tumblr_inline_n2uqztwbbk1qdntc7

Wow, y’all. Life is a rollercoaster. My last Waiting on Wednesday post was a pre-scheduled post that I wrote at the end of March, so I haven’t written anything for the blog in about a month. To be honest, I feel like April kind of disappeared in a haze, here and then gone.

Almost all of my goals for last month went up in smoke, too. Rocking out Camp NaNoWriMo with an awesome cabin? Forget 30,000 words; I ended up with 3.5k. Keeping up the blogging momentum? Well, you saw how that went. In April, I got swept away by some major things in my personal life. Weekend getaway with the boyfriend and him getting an awesome new job and moving waaay closer to me: whoo! Best friend slash Ann Perkins to my Leslie Knope getting an awesome new job and moving hours and a whole time zone away: awesome and also a huge bummer. I also ran into major mounting frustrations at work, and I’ve been having a hard time not bringing my negativity home with me at the end of the day.

All month, I was either completely wrapped up with the big events happening for the people in my life or completely drained, stressed, and upset from a day at my job. Because of that, a lot of things I needed or wanted to do in my personal life fell by the wayside. I was letting outside factors take away my passion and excitement, and I needed a change.

Around the same time I realized that, my roommate and I had a conversation about habits. After his breakup, I had advised him that getting over someone came down to changing your mental habits: retraining your brain to stop always running paths to that person and to redirect to other subjects more often. He took that to heart, did some research on habits, and came back to me with ideas. Apparently, the best way to break a habit is to either apply a negative experience to it (ie; quit chewing your nails by wearing nail polish that tastes bad, so chewing the nails becomes extra unpleasant) or is to simply form new, better habits.

He also decided that the best way to form a new habit is to do it daily for a week. He started getting up half an hour earlier to go run in the morning, and it’s working so far. Now, he’s planning the next good habit to start.

I know I need to break out of some of my mental habits. It’s time for me to embrace positivity and gratitude; to live my life more intentionally, and not at the mercy of what’s going on around me. It’s time to make new habits.

So, starting last week, I adopted a new goal: doing at least fifteen push-ups per day. It’s a baby step, something easy and practical, that I can do any time I think of it. It’s something good for me. Something that, with enough persistence, I can see tangible results from. Something to make me feel accomplished and strong.

Today marks exactly one week of doing them. Some days, I even do more or feel inspired to do some other quick exercises, too. In the scheme of things, it’s only a tiny spoonful of change. But it also is a cornerstone, a place for me to continue to build. This is a commitment to myself, to my passions, to the things that matter. It’s also a fresh commitment to all the other things I dream of doing and love doing. It’s a pledge to keep reinventing myself for the better.

It’s also a refresh for my commitment to this blog. This is something I enjoy immensely, and in the month of May, it is something I will consciously make the time for.

Fifteen push-ups. Less than a minute. Just a spoonful of change. But I’m going to savor it, and one spoonful of something good almost always precedes another.

A Crown of Wishes Release: Meeting Roshani Chokshi & Ryan Graudin!

11004639_10152823601528123_7097028574226568224_o.jpg

My rad local independent bookstore introduced me to up-and-coming YA author Roshani Chokshi in December by featuring her Indian mythology-inspired fantasy debut, The Star-Touched Queen, as the pick-of-the-month for the YA Book Club. I got around to reading it just in time for her to come into town! She and Ryan Graudin, author of Wolf by Wolf, were touring together for the March 28th release of the companion to Chokshi’s debut, A Crown of Wishes.

When the day came around, I had finished The Star-Touched Queen and was four chapters into the companion. This was my first time going to an author event, and I was absurdly nervous! Like, I had literally been less nervous holding an alligator than stepping into the store for this event.

And no, this is not one of those times where I actually mean “figuratively.”

11393245_10207118229383290_2116200264228601049_n

I had no need to be jittery and tongue-tied, though; the event was awesome! The discussion was well-moderated by the Children’s curator of the store, and Chokshi was almost like a charismatic yakshini out of one of her books: graceful, friendly, confident, and literally sparkling in a star-studded night sky blouse.

Chokshi and Graudin are both Southern authors, and it was fascinating to hear how their heritage here has influenced their writing. Growing up in a place with such a double-edged culture and a dark, problematic history impressed upon Chokshi the idea of “genteel monsters,” a theme threaded heavily into A Crown of Wishes. In a culture that placed extreme emphasis on manners, politeness, and upholding social mores, she recounted, it didn’t matter if your worst enemy showed up at your door; you still invited them in for lemonade and offered to fix them some food. To me, that’s the crux of her Otherworld: appearances and illusions can mean everything, and yet nothing at all. The Otherworld may bring the concept to the extreme, but her characters also realize that leaving the realm of fantasy and magic doesn’t make appearances any less deceitful.

This idea is also going to be central to her next series. The Gilded Wolves is going to be about power dynamics and cultural appropriation in the height of the Age of Imperialism.

“I use the world ‘gilded’ very intentionally,” she said, to describe an externally flourishing and beautiful city and culture built around a rotten core. This series sounds epic, and the first installment is expected to hit the shelves in 2018.

Graudin, meanwhile, said her childhood in Charleston and her many travels since have given her writing a strong sense of place. She loves teasing out the most unique aspects of a place and trying to breathe life into it in her books. When the topic of ideas for future books came up, she mentioned a long-held “story kernel” for a book honoring her hometown.

“The elevator pitch for this one,” she said, “is Southern Gothic meets a Miyazaki film.”

Sold. I don’t even need to know anything else about it; the second that book exists on a shelf, I’m buying it!

I’m bummed out that I hadn’t read any of her books before attending the event. Graudin was reflective, thoughtful, incredibly passionate in speaking about her writing, and full of elevator pitches that put her books way-high on my reading lists. I haven’t even read Wolf by Wolf yet, but I already told two friends that I was going to force them to read it after I do. That’s how awesome this book sounds.

My favorite part of the night was when Chokshi told us how difficult the writing process for her second book was. Whenever her characters acted up and frustrated her, she wrote horrible deaths for them, ended the chapter, and quit writing for the night. “Stay dead and think about what you’ve done!” she joked. Unfortunately, fellow writers, she advised that putting them in a death time-out and reviving them in the morning didn’t actually improve their behavior. I’m sure it was satisfying, though!

At the end of it all, I got my shiny new copy of A Crown of Wishes signed. If you get the chance, I would totally recommend supporting these two wonderful writers!

Stacking the Shelves: Library Sales & my True Book Love

seareads_stackingtheshelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, dedicated to showing off all the wonderful new book treasures that we hoard bring into our lives.

Between a good library trip, a few bookstore purchases, and a huge used book sale/library fundraiser today, my bookshelf is feeling a little more full! I’m so excited for all these bound pages of goodness, I just had to share.

Click above for the slideshow of full-sized pics!

Library Books

Went to return books; accidentally came home with the modern magical realism trifecta: The Weight of Feathers, When the Moon was Ours, and The Night Circus.

 Bought Books

Got a copy of A Crown of Wishes at an author event with Roshani Chokshi and got it signed! Also ordered Caraval to have it when I definitely go to that book club this time (*crosses fingers*) and Three Dark Crowns because I can’t stop thinking about this book, and a re-read is a certainty.

Library Big Book Sale!

One of the local libraries does a fundraiser sale twice a year, and today was the day! For all of $6, I snagged Ever the Hunted, Persepolis, The Mists of Avalon, a new-to-me Michael Pollan book about human-nature interactions, and an excellent Audobon Society field guide overview of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. Honestly, it’s the field guide that I’m most excited about. It’s in great condition, and it is a freaking steal at $1. Field guides are my favorite, favorite books, and this one has the basics of everything I could ever want to look up at the beach! Today, I am a most happy Sea.


What about you?

Any great books come into your life lately? Am I the only one who could sing ballads to a good field guide?

Probably, yes.