in my personal life
May is generally a good month for me. Spring is my favorite season. Everything that was dead over the winter gets to bloom anew—which is kind of how I feel about myself.
This month, I had a birthday. It was pretty non-exciting, other than the fact that my parents flew up from Oklahoma. Funny how hanging with my parents is now high quality entertainment rather than terror. That’s what happens when you’ve been away from your hometown for five years, I guess. However, I did manage to snag some birthday money from family, which was promptly spent on (a) cheap-ass t-shirts from H&M and (b) new releases from Strand Bookstore.
Aside from celebrating being on this planet for 27 years, I took a 2-day trip to New York to hang with one of my oldest friends in the world. It’s been not quite a year since I moved away from the city, and it’s always a little odd going back now. I never expect to see any of my friends, because Depression likes to remind me that no one cares. But then my amazing former coworker managed to scrape together a bunch of the old crowd for drinks.
Most important thing I’ve learned in 27 years: if you expect nothing, you’ll always be pleasantly surprised. (Or maybe this is just the depression talking.)
I also started finally looking for a part-time job around town. You’ll know when I’ve found one, cause this blog will probably go on hiatus. As for now, though, I’m still blissfully unemployed and reading my face off.
in my writing life
After roughly three months hard at work on the novel I’m calling BiDepressiveYA, I finished a rough draft!
It feels like a huge achievement but I know this is only the beginning of a long journey. I’m going to need a couple months to get this draft into something viewable for human consumption.
A confession: I’ve never actually completed editing something. About four years ago, I finished my first novel and started querying. I was so gung-ho about publishing that I rushed into the process before the story was really where it needed to be. I’ve since trunked that first novel, along with a second (and way too auto-biographical) novel. So we’re at Completed Novel #3, which is kind of amazing, but also terrifying. I really feel like this is the one.
Expect to see a lot of rantings about editing in the coming months over on my Twitter account. I may post some of my musings on the writing/editing process, although I’m not sure how interesting that will be for anyone. Overall, though, I’m looking forward to the future—even though it’s downright terrifying.
in my reading life
Despite being distracted by first my parents and then my New York trip, I did manage to read 13(!) books this month. And, extra bonus!, 11 of those books were diverse!
As of this posting, I’ve currently read 63 of my goal of 100 books (bumped up from 75 because I’m already so close to that—I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have a job).
I was blessed with a lot of ARCs this month:
- Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman – 5/5 – read my review
- Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher – 3/5 *
- On the Spectrum by Jennifer Gold – 3/5 *
- Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn – 4/5 *
- She, Myself, and I by Emma Young – 3/5 *
- Too Shattered for Mending by Peter Brown Hoffmeister – 5/5 *
new to my shelf
- Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik – 4/5 *
- Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed – 4/5 – read my review
- Playing With Matches by Suri Rosen – 4/5 – read my review
- Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan – 2/5 – review up 6/4
(I broke my book-buying ban slightly, but I only used birthday money so I feel like it’s okay.)
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros – 5/5 * (this was a gift from my good friend Taylor)
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – 5/5 *
- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – 4/5 *
(* = review on my goodreads profile only)
spotlight: The Hate U Give
I haven’t posted a review on the blog, only because (a) I feel like all the THUG reviews already went around and I missed the bus and (b) I mean, if you’re not planning on reading it yet, all the millions of rave reviews haven’t convinced you?
But on a serious note: I have never read a book that lived up to the hype quite like this one. I have no complaints. I think all my fellow white folks should be required to read this before receiving a high school diploma. If we don’t start listening to marginalized voices, our society is actually doomed. But also, The Hate U Give was just a beautiful story about a compelling main character that’s incredibly timely. Just read it, okay? Okay.
on the blog
I gotta say, I’m a teensy bit proud of my blog this month.
After “re-vamping” in April, I think I’ve really gotten into a groove when it comes to brainstorming discussion topics, drafting posts ahead of time (and at least trying to seriously edit them, even though I hate editing with the fires of a thousand suns). I still mostly don’t know what the hell I’m doing when it comes to graphics—that’s why I chose the black & white layout, because I don’t know how to match colors (and also it fits with depression, heh).
In other news, I finally hit 100 followers on The Story Salve! I started blogging regularly in January, with about 20-30 people following this account. Before book blogging, I occasionally posted personal musings that hardly got any hits. And while I’m still not getting a huge number of hits, I feel like I’ve already come so far in only 5 months. Thank you to everyone who checks in with me. I appreciate all of you.
That being said, if you’re new to my blog and you like what I’m doing, please don’t be shy! I would love to hear from you. What kind of posts would you like to see more of? Seriously, let’s be friends, because I literally have 2 friend IRL and I’m lonely af.
some cool posts that I did, I guess
- for my birthday, I wrote 27 Things I Would Tell My 17-Year-Old Self – maybe not the best advice, but it’s from the heart
- for #MentalHealthMonday, I came clean about my Seasonal Depression to hopefully dispel some of those nasty misunderstandings about how mental illness works
- I did 2 Diversity Spotlight Thursdays, if you’re into that sorta thing
- also I wrote about why I love lady friendships & why I sort of hate romance in YA for Trope Tuesday
- and ICYMI, yesterday I talked about why reading religious diversity is so important
awesome posts from around the blogosphere
- Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader started the Big Blogger Little Blogger project, designed to help bloggers with a smaller reach (like me!) connect with more established bloggers
- this interesting post on Thinking Race, on how being “nice” doesn’t cut it
- the lovely Olivia @ Olivia Chanel’s Galaxy of Books made a master post of girl gang stuff – books, movies, TV shows that feature awesome girl gangs
- Avery @ The Book Deviant called out 17 Harmful Books and 3 Authors That People Need to Stop Promoting
- Wendy @ What The Log wrote about feminism & mental health
- Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms wrote about What To Do When Diverse Books Are Problematic
- Sarah @ Written Word Worlds wrote about Triggering Books: are they bad? can they help some people, but harm others? (a really interesting topic for sure)
- Anne Elise wrote about Creative Self-Doubt: how it affects all of us, and why we should never let it win
- Nadwa @ Painfully Fictional started a Goodreads group for YA book bloggers! Announced here
- Swetlana @ Reading Through the Nights wrote about struggling to find one’s “blogging voice” – something I think we can all relate to
- Cat @ Let the Pages Reign wrote about the online YA community and how it alienates teen readers *you know, the target audience* – Jordyn @ Jordz the Bibliophile also wrote about this here.
- the lovely Sierra compiled a wonderful post about how adults can be better allies to teens in the YA community – check it out if you haven’t already
- A.J. @ Lacy Literacy compiled this amazing masterpost of stem heroines in romance! (because we need more boss ass ladies in YA and NA)
If you’re still with me, thank you so much for reading my ramblings. It means the world to me. Link me to your monthly wrap-up in the comments!