May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Over this month, I plan to do different posts about mental health and how it affects my life. To start, I present my story:
Every spring brings two book festivals to Southern California: The LA Times Festival of Books and Yallwest. Over the years attending these two festivals, I’ve been able to meet some of my all-time favorite authors and listen to them discuss their process, the hardships of writing, and the joys of meeting readers. This was my first time where my health and my body really limited my time and experience but I tried to make it work. There was no way I was going to miss these events, as they are some of my favorite of the year. Without further ado, here is my wrap-up of the two festivals!
I used to be ashamed of my love for YA literature. When I was twelve, I saw the movie How to Deal, a mash-up of two Sarah Dessen books starring Mandy Moore. I LOVED it. It still is one of my favorite movies. So after seeing the movie, I immediately bought the movie tie-in book that included, Someone Like You and That Summer. After I devoured those books, I went through Dessen’s entire backlog of books and I was hooked. Young Adult literature had grabbed at my heart and it was never letting go.
I’ve had a few days to process, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over my feelings about Avengers: Infinity War. Let’s just say, the last 15 minutes my mouth was wide open and tears silently fell down my face. Now I’m not going to get into any spoilers because that would be mean and hurtful to the people who haven’t had the chance to see it opening weekend, but I would like to talk about a few things.
- Author you’ve read the most books from? Hands down, Sarah Dessen. I’ve read everything she’s ever written. Her books are my biggest inspirations.
- Best sequel ever? I don’t read many books that are part of a series. Do the Harry Potter books count? And the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy.
- Currently reading? The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
- Drink of choice while reading? No preference.
- E-reader or physical books? Physical books all the way. I went through a phase thinking I could go the e-reader route, but that was really just an excuse to read during class in college.
- Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school? Dexter from This Lullaby or Owen from Just Listen.
- Glad you gave this book a chance? Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I’m not really into fantasy books (except Harry Potter) but I trust Rainbow with my whole heart and she did not disappoint.
- Hidden gem book? Just off the top of my head….Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. I was expecting a fluffy European romance but it had so much more depth. I loved it.
- Important moment in your reading life? When my best friend shoved Twilight in my hands during junior year of high school.
- Just finished? The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace
- Kinds of books you won’t read? Horror, SciFi, Fantasy
- Longest book you’ve read? Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Major book hangover because of…? We Were Liars by E. Lockhart fucked me up
- Number of bookcases you own? Four, but I probably need about seven
- One book you have read multiple times? Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Preferred place to read? My bed
- Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you read? “Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?” – Fangirl
- Reading regret? Waiting so long to read Harry Potter
- Series you started and need to finish (all books are out in series)? I don’t have one
- Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: Just Listen, This Lullaby both by Sarah Dessen, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Unapologetic fangirl/fanboy for? Harry Potter. Let’s just say, I’m pretty sure I blacked out my entire time at the Warner Brothers studio tour in London. I also took a trip with my best friend and our moms to Forks, Washington for a Twilight tour…
- Very excited for this release – more than all the others? Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
- Worst bookish habit? Not remembering plots to books after I read them. They just *POOF* escape my brain.
- X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book. Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
- Your latest book purchase? Pre-ordered Save The Date by Morgan Matson!
- ZZZ-snatcher (book that kept you up WAY late)? Most of them do. For some reason I seem to only read at night, so when I’m really into a book I won’t be able to go to sleep
This was fun! I found this from Bookchanted
Since I’m not going to be able to read a classic this month (preparing for book festivals!), I thought I would read some poetry—April is National Poetry Month.
I was never a very big fan of poetry. Honestly, it made me feel kind of dumb; I never understood the symbolisms and thought they were flowery mess of words, strung together to make “poems”. Junior year of high school, I slowly started opening myself up to more poetry. We had a whole unit on Edgar Allen Poe that I loved; his short stories and poems were so dark and eerie. I then got into an Ellen Hopkins kick and I read a bunch of other books in verse. In college I backed off again, though I do attribute that to my Old English class that really ruined all literature for me for a few months.
It wasn’t until seeing excerpts from Lang Leav’s poetry making the rounds on Tumblr. They were simple and relatable, something I had previously never connected with, even through novels told in verse. Then Rupi Kaur’s book, Milk and Honey, became such a huge hit that I began to look at poetry in a different way. Poetry started targeting a younger audience and became modernized in a really significant way.
“once upon a time, the princess rose from the ashes her dragon lovers made of her & crowned herself the mother-fucking queen of herself.
— how’s that for a happily ever after?”
A few months a got around to the much hyped The Princess Saves Herself in This One, by Amanda Lovelace. I read it in one sitting. I couldn’t stop annotating every poem that directly affected me. When the companion piece in “The Women are Some Kind Of Magic” series, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, came out I immediately purchased the gorgeous red cover copy from Target. This collection was no different from the first. I, once again, read it in one sitting and I could not stop marking my favorite poems. There are many trigger warnings in both books, something the author provides many times upfront: different types of abuse, trauma, death, eating disorders, etc.
“To be a woman is to be warbound, knowing all the odds are stacked against you.
—& never giving up in spite of it”
I liked both books for different reasons. I felt much closer to The Princess, relating to more of the poems on a personal level, and while I really enjoyed The Witch, it was more from a detached level. The poems were rough and visceral, every page a gut punch. This type of modernized poetry isn’t for everyone. Some people would rather have the old-school styling or structure, but for me, I prefer this simplistic nature. There is so much story being told very simplistically. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this series and I can wait for the third, The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One, published in spring of 2019
Here are some of my favorite poems:
The Princess Saves Herself in This One:
“The pain did not make me a better person. It did not teach me not to take anything for granted. It did not teach me anything except how to be afraid to love anyone. i am far too young to be so goddamn broken & if i could go back in time & give myself her childhood back, i would
— what was the point?”
“i’m sick to death of everyone telling me how strong i am. me? strong? i only act strong because it’s the only distraction from the thoughts of my inevitable motherless life
—a feather disguised as steel”
The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One:
“Curves and fat and rolls are a colossal ‘fuck you’ to the patriarchy – our accidental rebellion.
—my body rejects your desires”
“forget being ladylike (whatever the hell that means) &and allow yourself to show the world just how unapologetically angry this inequality makes you. let it all go.
—throw flames like a girl“
I thought that this we would be a nice way for you to get to know me in relation to chronic illness. This might not be for everyone but I thought it might interest someone.