Halloween Book Tag

I love this time of year, so I’m doing this Halloween-themed book tag that I’ve seen all over the place! Once again, I don’t actually follow the rules of tagging or being tagged, but consider yourself tagged if you’re reading this!

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CARVING PUMPKINS: What book would you carve up and light on fire?

It’s not likely that I would actually destroy a book, but I’ll choose one I really didn’t like: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen. This is the first Sarah Dessen book I’ve read and probably my last. I found literally nothing remarkable about this contemporary story. Kind of pointless.

TRICK OR TREAT: What character is a trick? What character is a treat?

Trick: Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. She’s the definition of tricky.

Treat: Alexia Tarabotti from the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. She’s always a delight to read about. Spunky, smart, and confident.

CANDY CORN: What’s a book that’s always sweet?

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. This ’90s rom-com style novel is the definition of sweet and a great pick-me-up. A cute love story with endearing characters.

GHOST: What character would you love to visit you as a ghost?

Albus Dumbledore! I’d love for him to visit and give me some words of wisdom. And, let’s be honest, he’s just dang cool.

DRESSING UP IN COSTUME: What character would you want to be for a day?

I’ll go with Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter. I would have magical abilities, attend Hogwarts, be friends with the Golden Trio plus Ginny, and could act as weird as I wanted without raising any eyebrows. Sounds like a fun day to me!

WIZARDS AND WITCHES: What is your favorite Harry Potter moment?

It’s impossible for me to choose a favorite… I’ve always loved the beginning of Order of the Phoenix when Harry meets members of the Order and is whisked away to 12 Grimmauld Place. So I’ll just go with that.

BLOOD AND GORE: What book was so creepy you had to take a break from it?

One of the creepiest/most disturbing things I’ve read is the Locke & Key series by Joe Hill. It’s a fantastic series of graphic novels about an old mansion with a set of mysterious keys. I never had to take a break from it, but there were plenty of creepy moments.


Thanks for reading & Happy Halloween!

xx bits of prose and whimsy

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Self-doubt

Self-doubt is a close friend of mine.

We’ve stayed up together on countless nights, into the early morning, mulling over things I’ve done and haven’t done. Things I said I’d do but never did. The list just keeps getting longer.

Self-doubt has convinced me not to go to new places. Not to dedicate time to hopeless pursuits, things I might have been good at by now. It’s taught me that with its guidance I will stay safe. I will stay comfortable.

But if this is what it feels like to be safe, to be comfortable, I will find a way to keep self-doubt at bay. I will become comfortable with the unknown.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

Office Work

Working in an office is not like it is on The Office. (Surprising, I know.) In my admittedly limited experience, working in an office means navigating people’s annoying personalities. It means trying (and failing) to understand why certain things are important to your boss and others are not. It means consistently toning down your outward frustration. It means being bored out of your mind sometimes and often wondering how the heck people work in an office for their entire adult life.

So, I guess it’s sort of like The Office, except without all the hilarious moments, ridiculous situations, and endearing personality quirks that help you get over the fact that you work in an office.

I work in a small office, by the way. This isn’t one of those cool, trendy, open-concept offices with mostly young people and modern furniture. I work with only three other people, all women, and I’m the youngest and only non-married person.

I’ve been stir-crazy lately. Again. I am 100% positive I’m not doing what I want to do. I work at a non-profit, and that’s about it for how it lines up with my own interests or with what I thought I wanted.

There’s nothing like a not-so-great work situation (along with some late-night motherly counseling) to get you motivated to really change things up.

I have some personal creative goals I’ve set for myself. In vague terms, I’ve promised myself I will draw more, write more, and really delve into what makes me legitimately happy. (And I will almost certainly be applying to master’s programs in the near future.)

I’m really trying to listen to myself now more than ever.

 

 

So it goes…

For several months now, I’ve been overwhelmed. Exasperated. Saddened. By what, exactly? By the state of the world. Tragedies fade with time, and most people will retrieve some semblance of normalcy. The cogs of the world must keep spinning. And yet these feelings linger. When I was most overwhelmed by disbelief and sorrow, just days after the Orlando incident, I did all that I could to contain my thoughts. So I wrote something.

***

I don’t know them. All I know are their names and faces and a sentence or two about who they are. Were. Like that could ever be enough to sum up a human being. I feel myself becoming numb to it all. It’s been a few days now since it happened and my thoughts will finally move on to other things with some gentle nudging. Sometimes rough. But they cycle back to this, oh how they cycle.

When I feel, I feel deeply. I feel with my whole body. I feel with my past, with my present, with vague notions of my future. Whatever that will look like. But who knows that? No one does. I’m sure those people had seen other tragedies in the news and thought to themselves, “that won’t ever happen to me,” as they held themselves tight.

We cling desperately to this notion, that nothing that bad, that tragic, that inconceivable, could ever happen to us. But those people were wrong. To be at the wrong place at the wrong time, to feel your existence unraveling as a stranger pulls the thread. I just can’t imagine. Maybe I don’t want to.

People still find comfort in small things somehow. Like lovers dying together, now buried beside one another. Maybe this means something and maybe it doesn’t. We wrap as many things around ourselves so that maybe, just maybe, nothing like this will ever touch us.

***

xx bits of prose & whimsy

Reading Goals ’16 check-in

With the 5th month of the year halfway over (TIME, WHAT?), let’s see how I’m doing with my 2016 Reading Goals!

  1. Read 65 books — Okay, so, according to Goodreads, I’ve read a total of 12 books so far this year. Also according to Goodreads, I’m 12 books behind schedule. Am I embarrassed? A little. I’m not super proud of my current reading habits. I’m currently part-of-the-way through a handful of books, and have about a dozen books checked out from the library, so I will attempt to narrow that gap in the coming weeks. (Key word: attempt.)
  2. Read 8 classics — I’ve been stagnant for months on an audiobook of Agatha Christie short stories, so I need to check it out again from the library and finish it. Other than that… Some of my next possible reads are: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and several Agatha Christie mysteries I’ve snatched (with full permission) from my dad’s library. I honestly have so many classics to choose from, but, for some reason, they’re never high on my TBR.
  3. Reread the Harry Potter series — Yeahhhh no. Haven’t done this. I honestly don’t foresee myself reading the whole series, but I will absolutely try to reread the first 2 or 3 books by the end of the year.
  4. Finish 5 series I’ve already started — So, I’m almost done with the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger! I’m on book 4 of 5 at the moment. Other than that… I’ve read 2 out of 5 books of the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull and started the 3rd a few months ago. I haven’t really been in the mood for it as of late, but it would certainly be possible to finish this series in the near-ish future. As I’ve mentioned previously, book series are typically my kryptonite, so I have probably a dozen other series that I’ve started but haven’t finished. A few are: The Hunger Games trilogy, of which I’ve read 2.5 books; The Darkest Minds trilogy, with 1 out of 3 read; The Lunar Chronicles series, with 2 out of 4 (arguably more than 4 with the novellas) read; and, brace yourselves, Twilight, having read the first 2 books, 80% of Eclipse, and none of Breaking Dawn. *[cue deep male, possibly British, voice] Will Wendy ever relive her early high school years by rereading and finishing Twilight? Stay tuned to find out on this season of Bits of Prose and Whimsy*
  5. Read 3 non-fiction books — So I’m currently reading Bossypants by Tina Fey, and finishing it will get me 1/3 of the way through this goal! And I have a bunch more on my TBR, so this will definitely happen. YAY.

Well, it’s been real. Clearly I’m not burning it up in 2016, but I’m not completely failing. Only mostly.

How is it going reaching your goals? Does anyone else have trouble with finishing series? Classics recommendations?

Thanks for reading!

Book Haul: Jan-April ’16

It’s Book Haul Time!

I don’t know about you, but I always enjoy seeing what books have caught people’s eyes enough to purchase. So here are the books I’ve acquired so far this year!

(Books 1-5 are from Owlcrate boxes. Maybe I’ll do an unboxing or discussion post at some point.)

  1. Flawed by Cecelia Ahern — This one is from the most recent (April) box. It’s the first installment of a YA dystopian series, and it has pretty solid ratings on goodreads. It’s not high up on my TBR, but I’ll definitely give it a try when I’m in the mood for a dystopian. It does sound like quite a few other dystopian series–girl going with grain, then going against it, trouble ensues–but I’m sure it’ll still be enjoyable since I haven’t read a dystopian in so long.
  2. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner — This is a YA contemporary with excellent reviews. It honestly doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve read, centering around 3 high school seniors living in a rural town and dealing with all that goes into living in a conservative, small town. This is definitely a book I’ll consider during the summer months when I typically read more contemporary stories.
  3. The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry — This is a YA Romance Sci-fi book that sounds pretty freaking cool. I mean, it’s a love story with premonitions and time travel. Come on. It has somewhat mixed reviews on goodreads, but I’m convinced I’ll enjoy this one.
  4. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells — This one came with The Love That Split the World in the sci-fi themed Owlcrate box. It’s a gosh-darn beautiful cover, and I’ve never read this classic. It’s pretty short and I’ve heard good things.
  5. Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley — This YA historical fiction novel doesn’t have the best reviews on goodreads (which I take into account 95% of the time when choosing what to read) so I’m not sure when I’ll actually read this. The concept does sound pretty cool; it’s a fictionalized account of the Bronte sisters. I’ve read Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte, and even though it was extremely melancholic (even for my taste) I did rather enjoy it. So we’ll see about this one.
  6. Making Comics by Scott McCloud — I don’t know if I’ve talked about this much, but I’m pretty into drawing. I have a vague dream of writing and illustrating children’s books, and another where I write and draw my own comics. Hence the book about comics.
  7. Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, & Whitney Cogar — A comic about 3 best friends in college. The art style is right up my alley and I bet the story will be endearing. Definitely one of the next graphic novels I’ll read.
  8. Rat Queens, Vol. 3 by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Tamra Bonvillain, & Tess Fowler — The third installment in a graphic novel series about kick-ass ladies in a fantasy world. According to some reviews, it looks like the art style has changed quite a bit, so that’s disappointing. But still looking forward this one.
  9. Saga, Vol. 4 and
  10. Saga, Vol. 5 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples — I snagged both of these along with Rat Queens for an Image Comics sale at B&N. Admittedly, I’ve only read volume 1 so far, but I’m pretty convinced that I’ll continue to love the series. (I already owned 1, 2 & 3).
  11. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf — I finally visited a used bookstore after passing it everyday to & from work for months, and I snagged this copy of a classic I’ve yet to read. I know I read A Room of One’s Own in college(?) and enjoyed it, and I’ve heard great things about Woolf in general, so this is another classic to add to my growing collection of books I’ll eventually feel guilty about not picking up yet. Oops?
  12. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier — A close friend recommended this to me, convinced I’ll love it. She hasn’t let me down with her recommendations thus far, so I’m pretty sure this’ll be another winner. I need more Gothic Romance in my life.
  13. Bossypants by Tina Fey — Two close friends and I decided to start a book club (though we haven’t actually discussed the book yet on any of our coffee dates) and this was our first pick. I haven’t read enough to offer a fully-formed opinion, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s very pleasantly Tina Fey-esque in all the best ways. Maybe I’ll write a review once I’m done? Maybe.
  14. Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman — It would be the surprise of the century if I ended up disliking this, being the Gaiman-obsessed person that I am. His writing is magical.
  15. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin — This was the second of two books that I picked up at that used bookstore. It was a bit of a spontaneous buy, but I did thoroughly enjoy Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by the same author, so I’m looking forward to this one. The plot sounds pretty darn interesting. There’s a girl who dies, ends up in a place called “Elsewhere” and she’s now aging backwards. Stories involving different after-life scenarios can be very cool. Stoked.

I’d absolutely appreciate any thoughts on these books, maybe which ones I should push to the top of my list! Thanks for reading 🙂

This Grass is Kind of Dead, Let’s Go Over There

WOW, a lot has changed over the past 12 months. I’ve now had 3 different jobs, made some awesome new friends, attempted to clean my room at least a dozen times, and had multiple quarter life crises.

My new job is a somewhat “legit” job, one that could eventually offer promotions and raises and whatever. But when I mention my new job to people, sometimes they say, “That’s great, is this a permanent job?” And then my mind starts screaming, “OH GOD NO DON’T SAY THAT.” Because it’s not what I want to be doing longterm…

However, I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I don’t even fake it that I have my shit together unless I absolutely have to. Sometimes it feels like I’ve mostly been accumulating a long list of things I DON’T want to do/have/be. It has also been a lengthy process of figuring out what I prefer to be stressed out about and what I would rather not experience on a daily basis.

I guess I could be considered a fickle person. Not exactly a “grass is always greener” person, but “This grass is kind of dead so I might as well wander over there at some point, maybe sooner rather than later.”

I am also somewhat idealistic, still hoping that one day I’ll find a career that is (mostly) fulfilling.

New jobs blah blah I know, it’s probably not that interesting.

My new goal—one that I’m going to try my hardest to accomplish—is to post once a week on here. I genuinely enjoy posting, and I’ve been reading (a reasonable amount) and drawing (pretty often) so I’m feeling somewhat creative. (And maybe marathoning It’s Always Sunny for the first time isn’t the only thing I should be doing on my computer.)

If you read this whole thing, thanks a bunch! Let me know if you can relate at all to these thoughts, it’ll make me feel less crazy. 🙂