Reading and Real Life: When a Book Teaches You Just What You Need

I mentioned it when I did my May wrap-up, but one of the main reasons I picked up Lynne Cox’s memoir, Swimming to Antarctica, was because I was preparing to do my first open water swim in the coming weeks. Memoirs about swimming are just generally interesting to me since I am a competitive swimmer myself, but I thought this book would give me a different perspective than I was used to. I read it in early June, a solid week and half before I did my open water race.

I’ve been a pool swimmer for 12 years now, which is over half my life; being a swimmer is about 60% of my personal identity. However, it’s important to note that swimming in a pool and swimming in open water (lake, ocean, bay, etc.) are two completely different ball games. Add in the additional factors of sighting (ie, picking your head out of the water to see where you’re going), water temperature, currents, wildlife, out of water starts, and large groups of swimmers trying to get to the same place, and open water really becomes a madhouse. I’ve only ever done one open water swim before, and it was a far more informal experience, as well as significantly shorter. There were a lot of things to be nervous about. I am lucky enough that one of my teammates’ mom is a veteran open water swimmer and I was able to talk to her beforehand, but I needed a far more impersonal account to really help me get over what I was scared of.

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OwlCrate Unboxing July 2018: STRANGE AND UNUSUAL

I’m back with an unboxing, as promised in my wrap up post! I know I’m a bit late in posting this, but I really liked how my posts were scheduled before I got this and didn’t want to mess with that (sorry not sorry). My previous (and first) unboxing was done all the way back in May, since, as I mentioned in that post, I decided to skip the June box because contemporary typically isn’t my cup of tea. (Please tell that to the 3 contemporaries I read last month.) Still, I know that was the right decision for me, and I’m very happy to have received this box, with the added bonus that I will now be receiving the August box! Here’s what I thought of the July box as a whole!

owlcrate spoilers

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Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh | a satisfying, if slow, finale

OVERALL: ★★★½/5

(Goodreads summary here.)

If you read my review for it, you’ll know that I loved Flame in the Mist when I read it earlier this summer. I’m honestly surprised it took me so long to pick up the sequel. However, I think that gap between finishing the first and starting the second actually hurt my enjoyment of this book. It wasn’t very long (only about 2 months), but I still had to refresh my memory of what happened in Flame in the Mist when I began Smoke in the Sun. For me, it probably means that I wasn’t as invested in the series and characters as I thought I was. Still, I enjoyed reading this and am glad I finished the duology.

There will be minor spoilers for Flame in the Mist going forward, since they’re essential to the story of Smoke in the Sun.

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A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir | wonderful but lacking that special something

OVERALL: ★★★★/5

(Goodreads summary here.)

Okay, so this is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I was a little disappointed by this book. I know that my 4-star rating probably doesn’t seem like it shows that, but I wanted so much more from this book that I just didn’t feel like I got in the end.

When I read An Ember in the Ashes last summer, I picked up A Torch Against the Night as soon as I had finished Ember. I was so invested, and I absolutely adored both books. Laia, Elias, and Helene were such stunning characters with amazing arcs; it was everything I love about YA fantasy. The world was spectacularly built, and, even though you had questions about it, it was because the characters were still learning as well, which is the kind of element I love. I’m 110% down for learning alongside the characters about the secrets of the world.

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July Wrap-Up and August Goals

Every time I write one of these, I’m shocked that the month is ending. Will that ever stop guys? I’m sick of feeling like the month passed on, like, 10 days. Anyway, July was actually an okay month for me. It was very (VERY) busy, but in the best way. I feel like I’m a little behind on pretty much everything (reading, posting, reading everyone else’s posts), and I’m really hoping to change that in August, especially early in the month since I won’t have quite as much to do until I have to start packing and leaving for school (how is it already that time again?!) But let’s get into the good stuff, shall we?

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I Can Only Read One Book at Once | Discussion

Sometimes I feel like I’m in a strange situation in the reading community. While I follow people who always seem to have at least 3 books on their GoodReads Currently Reading, I struggle with reading more than one book at a time. It’s by no means because I don’t want to be reading more or certain books. I have moments where I’m trying to decide which book to read next and want to read 3, but I know I can’t. While there are definitely exceptions, I just can’t get myself to do it. Here’s why.

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli | my perfect summer read

OVERALL: ★★★★/5

(Goodreads summary here.)

I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I started this book. I haven’t read anything else by Becky Albertalli (I know, how have I not read Simon vs. yet!?), but I do know that all of her books prevalently feature LGBTQ+ characters, which was the main reason I wanted to pick up this book.

You know how people say that YA contemporary romances are best in the summer? Well, I wasn’t sure I believed that until I read this one. Granted, I’m not huge on contemporaries in general, especially romances, but I finally felt like I understood where people are coming from about this. It was just fun to read, which isn’t something I find myself thinking very often when reading. It was light, it was cute, and yet I still feel like I got something out of it, which is what you really want to feel when you finish a book.

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I Stopped Trying to Read Every Day (And Maybe You Should Too) | Discussion

Now, you may be looking at the title and wondering if I’m crazy. I often wonder that about myself too. However, I don’t think this is the deciding factor on that front.

I mentioned this in my June Wrap Up post, but I’ve started to read for quality over quantity. It’s something I’m still working on and will probably continue having to actively think about for a while, but I’m slowly starting to find the benefits of it. That has turned into allowing myself days when I don’t read at all. It almost pains me to say that, like I’m worried someone’s going to come and revoke my metaphorical book nerd card for admitting it.

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Circe by Madeline Miller | an enchanting story of independence and finding your power

OVERALL: ★★★★½/5

(Goodreads summary here.)

When I read The Song of Achilles back in March, it only took about 30 pages for me to know that it would become one of my absolute favorite books. Circe never quite reached that status. It’s a phenomenal book and is definitely one of my new favorites, but it was just missing that something that Song of Achilles had. I loved Circe, but I am struggling to reconcile some aspects of it.

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I Spy Book Challenge

The always-wonderful Shai at Cade Under Books tagged me (a while ago) in the I Spy Book Challenge!

How to do this tag: Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes! // Like Shai, I could not do this in under 5 minutes. It took me about 12 because I had to dig through my shelves to find and be sure of certain things. Most of them came to me pretty quickly, though.

Lets do this thing!

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