Summer Reading 2017

My relationship with reading these past four years has been… complicated. I read all the time for my program which often means I was reading about 200-300 pages a week. This number also depended on how many classes I took that semester and how intensive they were. Point being, I was forced to read every day, often ploughing through material I wasn’t necessarily interested in, in order to be able to write papers and do assignments.

I had no time to read leisurely between reading for school, doing papers, attending class, and keeping up a social life (among other things). Eventually my love for reading dwindled to almost nothing. I was no longer asking for as many books for Christmas or my birthday. Instead I turned to magazines, manga, and graphic novels to try and fill that void which, at the end of the day, are no substitute to a good book.

I’m not too sure what changed recently but I have finally come out of my reading slump! In order to make the best of this before I start my masters in September, I decided to make a summer reading list of 10 books I want to try to read in the next two and a half months!

38221. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

  • I’m already halfway through this one but I still wanted to put it in here anyways because it’s so good!

3782.png2. Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

  • Another one I already started but still one I want to include as I’m only a few pages in and have kind of put on hold until I finish “A Gathering of Shadows”.

37883. Wildwood by Colin Meloy

  • I started this one last fall but never got around to finishing it and it’s so dang cute and fun I’m really surprised I haven’t finished the entire series already!

37954. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

  • I’ve had this one for a while just sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. Even though it’s one of my top reads I never got around to it so I’m thinking it’s long overdue. I also heard they are making a movie adaptation, is this true?

38105. 1984 by George Orwell

  • I’m rereading this one primarily because I forgot a lot of the main plot points and I confuse it with animal farm a lot (don’t ask me how). I also heard that Murakami’s 1Q84 relates to it a lot so I wanted it to be fresh in my mind before I tackle 1Q84.

38166. The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth

  • This is the only non-fiction on this list and this is where you can see my anthropology side creep in. It’s an ethnography but still sounds really interesting and fun all the same and I’ve been dying to read it.

38137. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

  • I mostly want to read this before watching the television show, which I hear is getting a lot of good reviews.

37978. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

  • I started this one when it first came out (I bought it the day of its release actually) then life happened and I got distracted and never finished it.

38349. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

  • I mostly never read this one because I wanted to reread 1984. Now that I will be, I wanted to get to 1Q84 before I’m swamped in school again.
  1. I’m going to leave this slot open to account for any book I might discover or buy in the next few months. Because, let’s be honest, I’m weak when it comes to books.

 

If you would like to follow my progress, check out the books I want to read, or read some of my reviews, you can check out my Goodreads page here!

Meet my Mind

Upon first meeting me you might think of me as a slightly shy but mostly friendly and talkative person. What you would never guess is that while you’re talking to me my heart is racing and my legs are bouncing to keep my hands from shaking. Once our conversation ends I will then retreat silently away or most often into my headphones to calm my mind and to keep the shaking at bay. If I don’t I’ll over think what might have been a very simple conversation from what I said to how I said it and what I should have said instead.

Meet my anxiety. Yup. Like most 20 year olds in North America I have been blessed with the monster that is anxiety. If you know me personally, however, you will either never know this about me or only have found out about it after knowing me for a while. I don’t really like talking to people about it, in part due to me being a very personal person in general, but also because I fear that people will misunderstand me or begin to walk on eggshells around me. Always fearful that what they say might set me off.

My anxiety has been around since I was young but even still I always felt very comfortable with myself and the people around me. I did gymnastics for 13 years competing in my last four and partook in countless theater performances in and outside of school. By doing performance acivities how could I ever be anxious? Surprisingly, I could.

2011 is where I have the sharpest memory of experiencing a panic attack. I had had them before but never knew that that was what they were exactly. I remember standing in front of my French class full of everyone I knew and all of whom I had stood in front of before. I should have been fine but I wasn’t. This time something was different. My heart raced and my mouth went dry as I dreaded my turn. Once I stood facing the people I had known for four years, something clicked in my brain and told me I couldn’t. It told me my French was awful and my topic was ridiculous. Just as my teacher turned to me to start my knees buckled and my nerves shook in every inch of my body. I collapsed into a ball on the floor in front of my entire class crying and shaking. From that moment on I have been utterly terrified of doing presentations and to this day, I have still never done one.

In early 2013 my anxiety peaked with panic attacks almost every other day. At this time, it had been 2 years since I had moved 2 hours away from home to a big city where I knew no one and was wrapping up my college (CEGEP) diploma while in the process of applying to university. I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t eating, and I wasn’t happy. I lost interest in the things I used to love and I hated school. All I was capable of doing was sit on my computer for hours after I got home late at night because I hated being alone and the silence was dangerous.

It was also around this time I met a boy. He was tall with dark hair, strong facial lines, kind eyes, and an adorable accent. For a while my monsters left me as I slowly fell in love. Life was great, life was happy. I’ve read books and I’ve seen movies and I’m a sucker for a good ending and a good romance. So love fixes everything, right? Wrong. Without warning my monsters came back at full force, tired of being ignored and replaced by ridiculous emotions called happiness and confidence.

For another year and a half I tried and failed to make the monsters go away. At this point I was in my second year of university just coming out of academic probation. I had gotten into my last university of choice in my 3rd program of choice and had been failing miserably. In an effort to save my academic career I switched programs into something I was much more knowledgeable and interested in. But my monsters were still wild and just as strong as ever.

Eventually I had had enough. I was now so far retracted into my mind I was depressed. I was still not sleeping properly, I was eating either really poorly or not at all, I never hung out with friends and I never left the house unless I had to. Tired of this shadow that had crept into my life I decided to seek help and turned to the counsellors the school.

So it was. In the summer of 2015 I began this long road to learning to manage my anxiety and panic attacks. I would be lying if I said it has been easy and I would be lying if I said it fixed me quickly. Unfortunately the nature of this mental illness is that it will probably never go away but thankfully it can be managed. I still get anxious and I still have panic attacks from time to time. The difference now is that I know how to handle them better and on most occasions calm the attacks before they take on full swing. I still hate crowds and socializing but I’m finding ways to get through them without incident. I have new friendships and I’ve rekindled old ones. I’ve gone to Europe on my own for 10 days, something my 2013 self never thought capable of and now I will be starting my master’s degree in September.

Anxiety is a strong emotion, but I am stronger. It has taught me more about myself, my capabilities, and ways to love myself including my flaws. I’m a very personal person and talking about this part of me makes me feel extremely vulnerable but I’m choosing to share my story because I want more people to be aware of the realities of anxiety.

In an effort to continue this conversation I have started a new blog in which I will be talking about how I manage my anxiety. The focus will be primarily on my journey of doing my master’s degree but I can guarantee that in a lot of ways it will also be about how I’m managing my anxieties while doing my MA. I will also give a few tips on how to succeed and do well in university and other useful tips to get you through it. So if you are interested you can find my blog here.

 

Thank you for reading! ♥

Quick Late Night Post!

HELLO THERE! Long time no see…

So what’s been happneing? Well, I just wrapped up my Bachelors degree this year and graduated last Monday which was very exciting and very hectic. Now I’m on summer break until September when I got back for my masters. AhahawhathaveIdone! Towards the end of 2016 I pretty spontaneously decided to apply for a master’s degree and got accepted! I’m very excited now that it’s the next clear step for me but I’m also very nervous for the work load and intensity of it. But I’m sure I can do it!

As it is summer now I intend on posting a bit more and this time I mean it. I have posts already lined up and more ideas coming every day. Maybe it’s the new chapter on the horizon or maybe I’ve simply managed to revive something that I was missing these past few months. Either way I’m going to take hold of it and run with it!

What you can expect: some DIYs, more journaling, and hopefully some more of my photography! Maybe I’ll be able to bring back my captured moments project? I have also managed to come out of a reading slump I’ve been in for a few years and plan to do a post about it. In the meantime, I’ve opened a goodreads account and installed their widget in the right-hand sidebar of my blog if you were curious to see what I’m currently reading.

Until next time (which will be very soon)!