Sunday Fun-day: Library Haul.

So, something that the Booktube community always got a lot of flack about was the lack of library hauls. And so far, in my time spent here blogging, I haven’t seen many here either. But, I frequent the library A LOT. So, I figured I would do routine library hauls here. So that’s what we’re gonna do today! So, as I believe I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a Tragedy Scholar. This means that most of the books I check out from the library are non-fiction books about historical tragedies or atrocities. And that’s basically what this entire haul consists of. So, with all of that being said, let’s jump into it!

1.) The Men with the Pink Triangle by: Heinz Heger

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I decided to check this book out because, although I’ve read many books about the Holocaust, and I know off-hand thaat homosexuals were targeted, I’ve never read anything specifically about them. So, i decided to change that.

2.) The Holocaust by: Laurence Rees

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Yet another book about the Holocaust. This is kinda my specialty in history. It’s the thing I’m most eucated about. This author wrote the book that was the basis of one of my favorite documentaries about the Holocaust. So, I decided I would give his books a shot.

3.) Dark Summit by: Nick Heil

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After watching a random YouTube video about Mt. Everest last year, I’ve kinda become obsessed with it. I’m especially interested in all the stories that came out of the deadly 1996 season. So, when I happened upon this book about that very season on Goodreads, I decided to give it a try.

4.) Borrowed Time by: Paul Monette

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Another subject that I’ve decided to fully educate myself about is the AIDS crisis. As a member of the Queer community, I think it’s important for me to know about this incredibly horrific time in our history. This is the first of many books on the topic that I plan on reading this year.

5.) Day of Infamy by: Walter Lord

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So, it’s not just the Holocaust that I consider my historical specialty, but all of WWII. But, surprisingly enough, I don’t know an awful lot about Pearl Harbor. So I decided to pick this up. I’m also interested to see Walter Lord talk about something that isn’t the Titanic, which is his specialty.

6.) Not Even My Name by: Thea Halo

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This book is about the little talked about Amenian Genocide. My sister-in-law is Armenian, and has talked about this period of her people’s history a few times, so I decided to educate myself about the subject.

7.) Execution By Hunger by: Miron Dolot

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This book is about the forced famine of the Baltic people by Stalin in the 1930’s, that killed millions of people. This was a topic breifly talked about in my Holocaust in Literature class, as people have called it the “hidden Holocaust.” Now, while I don’t agree with anything except the actual Holocaust being referred to as a Holocaust, I was still interested by this event. So, I picked up a book about it.

And that’s it! Those are all the books I’ve picked up from the library recently. Now, as I’m ahead in my school reading, I hope be able to get to these very soon. It always kills a little piece of me when I have to return a book before I’ve gotten the chance to read it. But, how about y’all? Have you gotten any books from the library lately? What are they about? Do you like library hauls? Tell me all about it in the comments!

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Sunday Fun-day: Defaced Book Thief.

Well, I finally get to show you all my passion project! That’s right, I started defacing a copy of The Book Thief by: Markus Zusak in 2017, and finally finished it in 2018. That’s right. I worked on this thing for a whole year. And it was a fanatstic little journey, and I’m super excited to share it with you all! So, let’s get started!

So, the first thing I decided to attack was the dust jacket. I was browsing through our family’s old books, and found a book about Hitler, complete with pictures, and decided to incorperate this into my design. So, I tore out pages, and pictures (don’t worry, we were gonna toss this book anyway. it was all eaten up by bugs), then stained the pages with tea and coffee, then placed those stained pages in the oven at a low heat to get a little burned.

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Then I carefully tore the stained, burned pages into pieces, and made a kind of collage by gluing all the pieces on the reverse of the book’s original dust jacket. I then printed out the title and author’s name and pasted those on. I made sure that at least one of Hitler’s eyes was covered in every picture. It gave me peace of mind. If that makes sense?

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Then I decided to attack the actual book itself. For the front cover, I chose to draw Death’s skeletal hand touching the cover of the book. And I chose to make the cover of the book be Lisel’s own book, The Word Shaker. I also added a little burned corner effect in the corner, to give it the sense that Death had just found it after the bombing, in the rubble.

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Then, for the back cover, I drew Death and Lisel, with one of the book’s most famous quotes. The design of Death was based off of this picture (I own this as a shirt, btw).

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Then I decided to attack the inside. For the front inside cover, I decided to dicpict one of my favorite scenes in the book: where Rudy gives the dying pilot the teddy bear.

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Then for the back inside cover, I split it into two pieces. One, based on the beautiful illustrations done by Trudy White inside the book, with one of my favorite quotes from the book. I used the same staining and burning method for the background. And then one in tribute to Hans Huberman, the acordian player that pays for things with cigarettes. I used wax paper and coffee grounds to make the little cigarette.

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Then, yes there’s more, I decided to attack the inside inside. That’s right. I went after the actual pages. I decided to go through the book and highlight as I normally do: Orange is beautiful prose, Blue is just things I like, and Green is my absolute favorite quotes. Then, I would chose a qoute, and make a pretty word page of that quote on the opposite page. I used scrapbook paper and sharpie pens to make the pages. And before you ask, yes. These pages are glued onto the existing pages. The book is now unreadable. Trust me, it’s fine! I’ll prove it later.

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These are not all the pages I made inside. I made over 45 pages inside. These are just some of my favorites.

And this is how I know that making the book unreadable is okay. I took the book to meet Markus in 2018, and he loved it. He took a bunch of pictures of it, and signed and personalized it for me. So, yea, it’s FINE.

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So, that’s it. That’s my grand masterpiece. I don’t know if I’ll ever thoroughly deface a book like this again, but ya never know. It was just, so much fun. And it was something that brought me a lot of joy in a not-so-great year.

So, what about y’all? Have you ever defaced a book? Which one? CAN I SEE IT???? I’d love to look at it! And if you haven’t, would you? Which book would you deface? Let me know down in the comments!

Sunday Fun-day: My School Reading.

I thought I’d share with you all what my required reading for school is this semester. Getting my textbook list is always my favorite part of the new semester. I know, shocker. So, that’s what we’re gonna do today!

These are all the textbooks for my Holocaust in Literature course:

1.) Night by: Elie Wiesel

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I’ve been meaning to read this for forever, so I’m glad I’m finally going to get to it.

2.) The Painted Bird by: Jerzy KosiƄski

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This is also one I’ve been meaning to read, so I’m really excited for it.

3.) Survival in Auschwitz by: Primo Levi

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Again, another one I’ve wanted to read for a while. I’m so excited for this class y’all.

4.) Badenheim 1939 by: Aharon Appelfeld

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Now this is one I’ve never heard of before, so I’m interested in what it’s going to be like.

And these are all the textbooks for my American Immigrant Literature course.

1.) The Shawl by: Cynthia Ozick

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This one is really short. Which is always good for a school book.

2.) My Antonia by: Willa Cather

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This is the only one of this batch that I’ve heard of before. I still don’t know what it’s about though, so it’ll be an adventure.

3.) No-no Boy by: John Okada

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This one seems like it’s gonna be really sad. I hope I’m ready for it.

4.) A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by: Robert Olen Butler

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I know this one is about the aftermath of the Vietnam War, but that’s it.

5.) Bone by: Fae Myenne Ng

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This one looks interesting. I’m intrigued.

6.) Jasmine by: Bharati Mukherjee

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This one sounds like it’s gonna be full of woman empowerment. Yay!

7.) The Book of Unkown Americans by: Cristina Henriquez

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This one sounds like it’s going to be a kind of Romeo an Juliet situtation. Which should be thrilling.

8.) Christ in Conrete by: Pietro Di Donato

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I have no clue what this is about, so this is gonna be an adventure too.

And that’s it! Those are all the books I’ve got to read this semester. And, despite how many there are, I’m really excited for them! So, have any of you read these books? How did you like them? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday Fun-Day: Most Anticipated Books of 2019.

Woohoo! New year, new fantastic books! There are soooo many books I can’t wait for this year, and I know it’s gonna kill me to have to put them all off while I’m reading for school. But, at least for now, I can dream about holding them in my hands and devouring them page by page. So, let’s look at the beautites I’m anticipating most! And these are in no particular order.

1.) Firestarter by: Tara Sim

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Ugh, I’ve fallen so deeply in love with this series. All the characters are my precious babies, and I can’t wait to see how their journey wraps up! Hopefully Tara won’t hurt me too badly. Hopefully.

2.) Darkdawn by: Jay Kristoff

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Now, I know there’s no hope for zero-pain here. I KNOW Jay is gonna make this hurt. But I don’t care. I can’t wait to see my babes Mia and Ashlinn kicking ass and taking names again! This series has gotten so freaking good and I can’t wait to see how it ends!

3.) Again, But Better by: Christine Ricco

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I’ve been watching Christine on Booktube for six years. I’ve watched her go from hundreds of subscribers to thousands. From waiting in endless lines to attend book panels, to being on book panels. And now, I’ve watched her go from reading books, to writing one of her own. And I’m soooo excited to read it. I know it’s gonna be great.

4.) Water Runs Red by: Jenna Clare

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This is a similar case to the one above. I’ve watched Jenna on Booktube for years, and have always thought that she was capable of writing books, or poems, or songs. And now, she’s finally doing it! And she’s incorperating her graphic designs, and ugh! I know this is going to be one of the most beautiful poetry collections ever! I can’t wait!

5.) I Wish You All the Best by: Mason Deaver

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Again! Another case of me watching this work come to life over a period of time. I’ve followed Mason since day one of being on Twitter, and I’ve always really respected their views on so many things. And I loved watching them create this book. And I know that it’s going to be wonderful. And it’s going to change and save so many kids lives.

6.) King of Scars by: Leigh Bardugo

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I ALWAYS SAID MY BABY NIKOLAI DESERVED BETTER! And now we get to see him get what he deserves, and I’m over the moon about it! Leigh has written some of my favorite books, and favorite characters. And I know she’s not going to disappoint me.

7.) Wicked Saints by: Emily A. Duncan

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There has been so much hype about this book, and so many people I trust have absolutely adored it. So I’m intrigued. And it sounds so deliciously dark, and tense. I really think I’m gonna love this. And I can’t wait to see if I’m right.

8.) Wayward Sons by: Rainbow Rowell

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The only problem I had with Carry On was that there wasn’t enough interaction between Simon and Baz. And now we’re getting an entire book with them together! And I’m so stoked!!!

9.) Daisy Jones and the Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid

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I absolutely loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo last year. So when I heard that Taylor Jenkins Reid was coming out with a new book, I was so super excited. This sounds like it’s going to be so intense and full of emotion, and I’m so here for it!

10.) The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by: Shaun David Hutchinson

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Shaun has written some of my all-time favorite contemporary books. I’m always excited when I hear that he’s releasing a new book, and this time is no different. I’m sure that this book is going to be just as touching and queer as all the others, and I’m sure I’m going to love it just as much.

That’s it! Those are all the books I’m looking forward to most! But what about y’all? What books are you most excited about? Are you looking forward to any of the books I listed? Let me know down in the comments!

Sunday Fun-day: Best Books of 2018.

Welp! It’s a new year, and it’s time to reflect on all the books that blew my mind in 2018. And trust me, there were A LOT! But, I’ve managed to narrow it down to just twelve that were just, the best of the best. So, let’s get started!

12.) Magic Bites by: Illona Andrews

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This year, I went back to my paranormal-romance roots, and finally gave this series a chance after having it recommended to me forever ago. It’s everything I love about the paranormal-romance genre and more! There’s a kick-ass heroine, a kick-ass love interest, a complex world and magic system, out-of-this-world high stakes, drama, action, etc. I devoured the first five books of this series, and I can’t wait to get to more!

11.) Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by: Don Brown

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This was one of the most heartwrenching things I’ve ever read. So much about what happend during, and after, Katrina has been kept so quiet, and after reading this book I can understand why: it was horrific. The way that our government let down the people of New Orleans was a travesty. And this novel really shows that. The artwork really brings to light what mere words wouldn’t be able to convey. This really should be required reading for everyone in America.

10.) The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black

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Oh man, does Holly Black know how to write faeries. Brutal, coniving, vain, fickle, and beautiful. She really knows how to get them just right. I was worried, with all the hype that was surrounding this book, that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. But it did…and then some. The characters were all so flawed, and morally grey, and just awful some times, and I LOVED it. And all the tension was just TOO good. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of this series. Holly Black is the Faerie Queen.

9.) Sadie by: Courtney Summers

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Holy crap did this one hit hard. This book just, covers such a tragic and hard topic, but the thing that makes it THAT much harder and more tragic, is that it happens all the time. This novel really makes you open your eyes to the really ugly side of the world, and start asking yourself some REALLY hard questions. The way this book was written was also so brilliant, and intriguing, and suspenseful. And the audiobook was AMAZING.

8.) The Watch That Ends the Night by: Allan Wolf

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This was the second historical-fiction book I read that was written in verse. And I’ve learned something: when trying to write about tragic events, sometimes verse is the best way to go. The free form allws authors to express emotions and events in a way so much more meaningful than if they’d been stuck in structure. This novel was packed with so much information, and so many different POVs from people from all walks of life. I really learned so much from this novel, and can’t wait to pick up more Titanic books.

7.) Wildwood by: Colin Meloy

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This one was a complete surprise for me! I picked this up on a whim at Target YEARS ago, and started to think I was never going to get to it. Oh man, am I glad I changed my mind. This book was so much fun. The world is so unqiue, and quirky, and just, FUN! That’s what I felt all throughout this book. Even when things got tense, there was still so much excitement going on! This is such a great book about family, friends, and growing into yourself. I definitely recommend it to middle grade lovers.

6.) The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by: Kiersten White

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This book has become so important to me over the course of this year. The majority of this book deals with a character in an abusive and toxic relationship, and how she finds the strength to get herself out of it. This is a situation that I have been struggling with myself for the past few years, and to see in reflected in fiction, and handled so well, really meant a lot to me. Our heroine is strong, and loving, and loyal, but she also has her flaws. She was just an amazing character to be able to relate to, and I’m really grateful to White for giving me this book this year, when I really needed it. If you want to hear more of my thoughts about this book, check out my fell review here.

5.) Dietland: Sarai Walker

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This was another one that completely took me by surprise. This was a required read for school, and I was anticipating to not like it. Boy was I wrong. This book was so empowering for women, particularly fat women. If you want to know my more in-depth thoughts, you can check out my full review here.

4.) Godsgrave by: Jay Kristoff

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This was so good. Like, way too good. Mia got more brutal, and morally grey, and so badass. Plus, my wife Ashlinn is in it so, of course it was gonna land high on this list. But the stakes were so much higher in this one, and there were so many twists I wasn’t expecting. And it absolutely left me dying for the next installment. I can’t wait until the next book comes out, but Jay better leave my wife alone. Or we will have WORDS.

3.) Bridge of Clay by: Markus Zusak

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I bet this is surprising to y’all, isn’t it? Bet y’all thought it would be first. Well, as great as it was, it couldn’t quite claim that spot. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t amazing! Because it was. It was so touching, and heartbreaking, and beautiful. No one can string together a sentence quite like Markus. There were so many lines that left me gasping, they were so beautiful. It really was worth the agonizing wait.

2.) Muse of Nightmares by: Laini Taylor

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I’ve said this more times than I can count, and I’ll say them probably a million more times: Laini Taylor is a word witch. The way she can make worlds and characters come to life on the page is nothing short of magic. This sequal was so nail-biting, and emotional, and absolutely amazing, and I just can’t figure out how she manages to do it over, and over again. This duology handled such complex themes so brilliantly. I’m just, completely in awe of her. We all need to bow down.

1.) Circe by: Madeline Miller

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I can’t express how much I love this book. It came to me, just when I needed it most. Seeing Circe getting knocked down, and having everything in the world thrown at her, and her getting right back up? It really helped me get through this year. Everytime I picked this book up I felt so empowered, and inspired, and like nothing could touch me. And even if something DID get to me, I could beat it. Circe was such a beautiful character to read about, and all the other characters were so amazing too. If you want to hear me gush about this book more, check out my full review here.

Well that’s it! Those were my top books of the year! But, what about you guys? What were your favorites of the year? Did you read any of my favorites? What did you think of them? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Sunday Fun-day: Markus Zusak Collection.

I mainly have four collections, but there is one that definitely stands out as my absolute favorite: my Markus Zusak collection. It’s a well known fact that Zusak is the author of my two, absolute favorite books of all time. So, it really shouldn’t be all that shocking that I collect his work. I started collecting in 2012, and am nowhere near finished. It’s the collection that I’ve poured the most money into, that I’m most dedicated to, and most proud of, and I’m super excited to share it with all of you! Now, I’m not going to go into a bunch of detail about the books, and what they mean to me, because I plan on making an entire post about it. So, be on the lookout for that. But for now, just look at the beautiful books and swag!

Whenever I start off this collection, I always begin with my editions of The Book Thief. Probably because they’re what make up most of this collection. So, that’s what I’m going to do here too.

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(Old Definitions UK paperback, UK paperback, US movie tie-in paperback, US Exclusive Collector’s Edition hardback, UK hardback, Newest Definitions paperback, Rare German hardback, Second run US ARC)

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(US paperback, Newer Definitions paperback, US 10th anniversary hardback, AUS paperback, US 10th anniversary paperback, Defaced hardback, Rare German hardback, UK ARC, Russian hardback)

Next up, is my absolute favorite book of all time: I Am the Messenger. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Chardon, why isn’t this the biggest piece of your collection? Isn’t it your favorite?” And the answer is: The Book Thief is more popular. The Book Thief is Markus’s masterpiece, and it definitely shows. There were way more editions of it printed than any of Markus’s other works, hence why I have more editions of The Book Thief, even though I Am the Messenger is my favorite.

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(German paperback, Newer French paperback, AUS first edition paperback, AUS paperback, Defaced hardback, Dutch hardback)

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(Czech hardback, German special Black Edition paperback, AUS paperback, Polish hardback, Romanian hardback, Chinese paperback, AUS paperback)

Next is the smallest piece of the collection: The Wolfe Brothers Trilogy. These are the first books that Markus ever wrote, and very few people have heard of, or read, them. And, I have to admit, they’re not Markus’s best (they are his first though, so we can excuse it), but they’re still very touching and beautifully written books.

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(US bind-up hardback, UK Definitions paperback, Newer UK Definitions paperback, UK Definitions paperback)

And to finish off the book portion of the collection: Bridge of Clay. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book since 2011, and I was absolutely over the moon when it was announced and released this year.

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(US hardback, UK Waterstones Limited Special Edition hardback, US hardback, US ARC, UK rose gold ARC, AUS ARC)

And that’s it for the books! Now we’re on to the swag! Believe it or not, there’s not an awful lot of Zusak swag out there in the world. But, with the hype for Bridge of Clay, that has started to change. Which, as a collector, has absolutely thrilled me!

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(ALA exclusive Bridge of Clay tote bag, Bridge of Clay pens, Bridge of Clay Leather notebook, The Book Thief button, Bridge of Clay quote print, Bridge of Clay coasters)

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(Bridge of Clay stickers inside Waterstones Edition, Waterstones The Book Thief bookmark)

And that’s it! That’s my entire Markus Zusak collection. Now, as I stated above, I’m in no way done collecting. There are still many foreign editions that I want to get my hands on. And I am forever in search of an I Am the Messenger ARC. So, most likely, I will be adding to this collection for many more years.

Sunday Fun-day: I was gone for a while…

Hello lovelies! So, I’ve been gone for quite some time now. And I wish I could say that it was a “one time” thing, and it’ll never happen again… but that’s just not the case.

See, something that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I suffer from mental illness. For most of my life, I have been dealing with OCD and anxiety. And while, over the course of my 26 years, I’ve gotten really good at coping with the everyday, routine, smaller symptoms of my MI, there’s always one thing that never fails to send me into a spiral, and it’s one I can never really get myself out of: school.

School is the #1 trigger for my OCD and anxiety. Despite the fact that I am an excellent student (never get bad grades, don’t skip too many classes, get along with all my teachers), my MI always convinces me that I’m failing college. And the path that that train of thought takes my brain down looks like this:

Failing college —> Failing at life —-> Worthless human —-> Everyone hates/disappointed in me —-> I’m going to die.

Now, of course that doesn’t make any logical sense, but I’ll let you in on a secret: MENTAL ILLNESS ISN’T LOGICAL! I can be staring at my straight A’s, listening to teachers telling me what a great student I am, and having my family telling me how proud they are of me, and it DOES NOT MATTER. My brain sends me down that negative thought path, and I’m stuck in it.

As you can imagine, this gets extremely exhausting. It makes everything that I have to do for school, and in other aspects of my life, far more difficult, and draining, than they should be. It takes every ounce of my energy to get the bare minimum of what I need to get done finished. So, this tends to mean that I have absolutely no energy, or drive, or desire to do anything extra. Like reading for pleasure. Or blogging.

So, that’s where I’ve been. That’s where I always go when I drop off of social media all of a sudden, and for long periods of time. And while I wish I could say that it won’t happen again, it most likely will. I still have two more semesters of college left before I graduate, so that bad thought spiral is going to happen at least another two times. That’s just inevitable. I’ve accepted that it’s just what happens, and I deal with it the best I can. That’s mostly what living with a mental illness involves.

But, for the time being, I’m on a break from school, and I’m going to try to do my best to schedule some posts. Hopefully that will help me not fall too far behind again, when school starts up in a few weeks.

I really do love blogging, and love being a part of this bookish community. So, I hope that none of you thought I was quitting, or giving up. I just have to step away from things sometimes when my head gets in a bad way. I hope you all understand that. I’m going to try my best to be here, just be patient if I can’t. Thanks ya’ll.