Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Top Books of 2015 (Megan)

Happy New Year everyone! As we approach 2016, I wanted to take the time to make a post about the top books that I've read in 2015! Like I mentioned in my post about coming back to the blog, I've been really busy this year and haven't read much that wasn't for class. Because of that, this list is a mix of YA novels and books that I read for my first semester of college. Without further ado, here they are in no particular order:

18298225We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
This is one of the best books I have ever read! I'll be posting a review that I wrote of it soon. Until then just know that everyone needs to read this book at some point in their life!

On the Fence by Kasie West
One of my favorite things about a book is when I can relate to the main character. I absolutely loved The Distance Between Us so when Rachel told me that I needed to read On the Fence I had high expectations. This book did not disappoint! Growing up I was always the girl who hung out with the boys and played sports so while I may not have protective older brothers, I could totally relate to Charlie and her experiences. This book left me wanting a Braden of my own and a copy of Fill-In Boyfriend.

9969571Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 
I read this book because it is one of my good friend Karla's favorite books! (If you want to see what Karla has been reading/up to lately check out her Youtube channel here) I'm so glad that she convinced me to read Ready Player One because I couldn't put it down! If you are at all interested in the 80's and you haven't read this book yet, you are missing out! Even if you don't understand all of the pop culture references, this book is still great fun and worth the read.

My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors
20309175Rachel was nice enough to give me the pretty UK version of this book for my birthday and I just finally got around to reading it. It's the perfect holiday read and I'm definitely going to be re-reading this one around Christmas every year. This book had a great mix of stories that I highly recommend to everyone! My full review of each of the stories should be going up on the blog soon!

The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
After some peer pressure from Rachel and Katherine I finally picked up this series (are you detecting a pattern in my reading habits yet?). I'm so glad that I did read these because it was the most fun I've had reading a series in awhile. I absolutely loved Rose, Dimitri, and all the other characters that made these books so memorable! I was so sad that this series was over, even if it did have the perfect ending. Hopefully I'll have time to start reading the Bloodlines series soon!

28676American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
This is the first of the books on this list that I had to read for class. I read this book for my Literature of Extreme Situations class and enjoyed it much more than I thought that I would. I'll preface this by saying that this book is horribly violent and contains very explicit sex scenes. It definitely isn't for everyone, but I enjoyed the discussions that we had about it in class so much that I didn't mind the violence of the book as much. In my class we used existentialist theories to talk about Patrick Bateman's behavior and the motivations for his actions. If you can get past the gore and find other bookish people to discuss this with, it's well worth the read!

6149Beloved by Toni Morrison
This was another read for my Literature of Extreme Situations class and was the second Toni Morrison book that I read this year. She is a phenomenal writer and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Beloved is a heartbreaking story that deals with the way a former slave and her family are still affected by slavery even after it has ended. It is a story about how far people had to go to survive in the time period and the effects that their actions had on them later. This might not be a YA novel,  but it is 100% worth the read!

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
20613761I read this poetry collection for my Literature Studies class and fell in love with it. Claudia Rankine uses the poetry genre in a unique way with a mix of prose, poetry, and powerful pictures. The poetry deals with the nature of micro-aggressions against the black community in America. From the smallest of assumptions to large acts of aggression, this collection explores what is wrong with race relations in this country. The ultimate goal of the collection is to make everyone who reads it aware of the fact that while blatant racism might not be as prevalent as it once was, the often unintentional micro-aggressions that are still widespread can be just as damaging to society and the people they affect.

Overall, this year was an interesting year for me, reading wise. Hopefully I will have more free time to get some more YA reading in during my next semester. What were your top books of 2015? Have you read any of my top books? Let me know down in the comments below!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Coming Back (Megan)

Almost a year ago, I put up a blog post explaining that I was taking a break from blogging and that I wasn't sure how long it was going to be before I came back.

For most of this year, I missed blogging, but I couldn't bring myself to do anything about it. I was still reading books, but my life was busy. This past year, I wrapped up my senior year of high school and started my freshman year at my dream school, Emerson College. With how busy I was during my first semester, I didn't read anything that wasn't assigned for one of my two literature classes. Turns out when your major is Writing, Literature, and Publishing, you have to do a lot of reading for class. Imagine that. 

sarcasm sarcastic kim possible woo hoo

Still, even with all that reading, towards the end of the summer, when I was still reading YA books for fun I started to feel a familiar itch to review books that I read. When I finally read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart in one sitting, all I wanted to do was talk about that book. It was the familiar feeling of wanting to just sit at my laptop and type out a long, rambling review about every aspect of the book that I loved. It was also a feeling that I hadn't felt in a long time. 

The fact that I have the desire to write reviews again is encouraging for me because that is the fun that I had been missing when I decided to take a break from blogging. Now, if I have this feeling again then hopefully blogging won't feel like a job, but like the fun way to interact with other people about books. That's what this  was when I first started doing this in my freshman year of high school with Rachel and I would love to be back in that place. 

The idea of coming back to blogging is new for me and I'm not totally sure how often I would be posting right now. One thing I do know for sure is that I'm more busy in college than I was in high school. I'm loving every minute of college, but it definitely takes a lot of time away from reading YA books. So I'm probably going to end up reviewing some of the books that I read in my first semester classes as well as other books that I read for school in the future. Hopefully these reviews, as well as some random rambles about my college experiences will give me enough variety to keep myself interested. I also hope that any of you guys who might still be hanging around will appreciate the variety of me reading other things that aren't necessarily Young Adult. 

Right now, and for the foreseeable future, it's just going to be me posting on this blog. That is something I was uneasy about at first because I started this blog with Rachel, and Katherine joined on later. I'm not going to change anything about the blog and I'm definitely not going to take either one of their names off of here. This blog was our baby for a long time and in many ways it still is. Maybe eventually I'll change things around, but for now I'm content to just post here and add on to what we already had. 

I'm happy to say that Rachel, Katherine, and I are still very close, despite going to three different colleges! It is possible that they could do a guest post or that they might show up on here occasionally. We'll see where it goes! If you do want to hear what Rachel has been up to and some of her book related activities, you can check out her booktube channel here, which she still makes videos for when she has time.

To wrap up this long and rambling post, I'm back to blogging and I couldn't be more excited to see where this new chapter goes for me! Thanks to anyone who still reads/checks this blog. I hope that you're as excited about this new step as I am!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Where I've Been (Megan)

Hey everyone, it's been a very long time. Ridiculously long actually, and I suck for how much I've been neglecting this blog. Rachel posted before about why she's been absent and I owe you an explanation too.

I'm a senior in high school, so part of it has been me just needing to be offline for awhile. I needed to focus on college applications, school, soccer, and spending time with my IRL friends. So the blog kind of took a backseat because I was stressed out and something had to give so that I didn't go insane. But then applications were done, soccer ended, I had more free time, and I still wasn't blogging. So I gave it a lot of thought and a lot of sad, guilty feelings went into those thoughts.

I realized that I wasn't happy blogging. It felt like work and I was delaying coming back because of it. we had great things planned, like updating the blog look to something more professional and buying the domain name. We started all of these great things and I just wasn't excited about it. At least not as much as I thought that I would be.

Why? The simple answer is that I'm growing up, but it's also the complicated answer too. The girl who wore hand-made puffy paint shirts to book signings isn't totally me anymore. I still love books, but I've grown up a lot and learned a lot about writing over the years. I'm more critical of the books that I read in characters, character development, in plot, and in the writing itself too. Some of my favorite series have recently ended and going back I realized that I don't like them as much anymore. I've outgrown some of them and all of these realizations really depressed me. I am suddenly very aware of the fact that I am growing up and its a horribly sad feeling.

Books used to make me literally jump up and down screaming and I would be so indescribably happy when I blogged. Those feelings are still there, but they're muted.  It's the only word I can think of to describe it.

I want to still be involved in the book community, and I don't want to leave Read. Write. Ramble. behind. I'ts my baby. Rachel and I created it four years ago when we were Freshmen and I've gone through so much and had so many amazing opportunities because of it. I've made so many friends through blogging, met authors, other bloggers, and even other people in the publishing community. But in the end it still feels like work instead of light, fun and happy. Blogging was always work, but it didn't feel like it in the beginning.

I need to find something that makes me feel that happy again. I don't know what that will be, but I know I can't wait to feel that deliriously happy again.

Until then, I'm not going quit blogging. I had a rough reading year as well with an embarrassingly low number of books read in 2014 so I'm going to start reading again and try to ease my way back into reviewing. If Rachel and Katherine do the same that is totally up to them. I've made a TBR Challenge jar inspired by my friend Karla from BooksandOtherNerdyThings on Youtube. She was tesxting me about the idea and I shamelessly stole it.
(So my "jar" is technically a turtle cup, but it's all I had shhh) I'm going to pick challenges from it throughout 2015 and hopefully remember why I fell in love with reading books when I was younger. Somewhere along the way I seem to have forgotten.

So to end this super long explanation, once again I'm sorry. If you're still checking up on this blog occasionally wondering where the heck we went, well bless you, you wonderful human being. I'll try to be better for you. I'll try to make this not feel like as much of a job and to make it fun for me because this is supposed to be a happy place. I'll done down the angst (but I'm a teenager so let's be realistic here), I'll tweet some things no one but me will find funny or relate-able, and I'll generally try to be more present here. But most importantly, I'll get back to reading, writing, and rambling. At least I know I've still got the rambling down. :)