Sunday Fun-day: Wreck This Journal.

So, no doubt y’all have noticed by now that, I can be quite crafty. It should come as no surprise then, that I am the proud owner of a Wreck This Journal. I acquired my WTJ in 2013, and REALLY got into working on it in 2014. That year, a good 90% of my day was spent trapped inside babysitting a small toddler, and let me tell you, THAT JOURNAL WAS A GODSEND. It gave both me, and my nephew, something to spend our countless hours doing, and it was SOO much fun, and SOO cathartic.

For those of you who’ve managed to elude the internet for the past five years, and have no idea what a Wreck This Journal is, or what it entails: it is essentially an art journal. Each page of the journal has a prompt, and you are “encouraged” to do said prompt, and the more creatively the better. But of course, you can always choose to ignore the prompt, and just do your own thing. The journal is really about that, ya know, not making you feel pressured or forced into doing a specific thing. It really is entirely up to you. Which really gives you all the freedom in the world to let your creativity go hog wild.

I decided that I wanted to do my best to follow the prompts in the journal, but with as creative a twist as I could possibly incorporate. Which, as I’ve found, is how most people choose to approach the journal. But, as I said, that doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. You can literally do whatever you want. And even if you DO choose to approach it the same way we have, that doesn’t mean our pages will end up the same. After all, the way you interpret “Fat Lines and Thin,” might not be the same way I interpret them. Thus, making that page different for the both of us.

I highly recommend this journal to everyone looking for something fun and creative to do in their down time. I’ve even managed to convince my best friend into getting one, and she’s loved the pages she’s done in it so far.

Here are some of my favorite pages that I’ve done from my own WTJ. Just so y’all can get an idea as to what it’s all about.

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(This one is my ABSOLUTE favorite. For obvious reasons.)

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So, what about y’all? Do you have a Wreck This Journal? What are some of your favorite pages that you’ve done? Would you consider getting a WTJ? Lemme know about it down in the comments!

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Sunday Fun-day: Summer Biannual Bibliothon TBR.

So, at the last minute, I decided to participate in the Summer Biannual Bibliothon! This is actually my first year participating, as this one tends to overlap with the Booktube-A-Thon, which I’ve participated in for the past 5 years. But, this year the dates worked out that, not only could I participate in both, but actually have a little break in-between as well! So, I thought it’d be fun to share with you all what I plan to read over the course of the week! So, here we go!

Challenge 1: Read the Group Book

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The Wicked Deep by: Shea Ernshaw

Challenge 2: Choose a book from someone else’s TBR

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The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black from Between the Pages TBR.

Challenge 3: Try the first chapter of 3 books and pick 1

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The War Outside by: Monica Hesse

Challenge 4: Read a book that has been on your TBR for over a year

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Tiger Lily by: Jodi Lynn Anderson

Challenge 5: Read a predicted 5 star read

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Muse of Nightmares by: Laini Taylor

Challenge 6: Read an #OwnVoices book – different from YOU

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Blanca and Roja by: Anna-Marie McLemore

Challenge 7: Read the last book you bought

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Orphan, Monster, Spy by: Matt Killeen

So, there ya go! Those are the 7 books I’m going to try and tackle this week! Now, what about y’all? Are you participating in the Biannual Bibliothon? What books do you plan on reading? What do you think of my choices? Lemme hear about it in the comments!

If you’d like to hear more about why I chose these books, you can check out my TBR video on my Booktube channel here!

Sunday Fun-day: ALA Annual Conference 2018

Hey y’all! Well, here it is! As promised! My post all about ALA Annual Conference 2018!!! I’m not really sure how to go about covering anything, so forgive me if this is a bit ramble-y. Okay, let’s just dive right into it!

So, going to ALA was kinda a last minute thing. I mean, it’s something I’ve WANTED to do for a while, but kinda in the same sense as wanting to go to Europe. Something you have all the intentions of doing, ya know, someday. But not anytime soon. What REALLY sold me on going this year, and really got all the plans in motion, were two things.

1.) It was in New Orleans. Normally, it takes place in Denver, CO or Seattle, WA. Both of these places are wayyyyy too far for me to drive, and I really can’t justify spending the money on a plane ticket to go. I haven’t been blogging long enough, in my opinion. But NOLA isn’t even a full day drive away from FL. That’s TOTALLY doable.

2.) Bridge of Clay ARCs were going to be there. Yes, this is completely true. This was a HUGE contributing factor. I mean, I’m the girl who drove four hours to go to a Zusak book signing. So, yea. I am THAT kind of fan.

So, it was decided. I was going. And upon telling my family this, they decided it gave them a spiffy excuse to take a mini-vacation, so they all tagged along as well. And just like that, we were making the 9hr commute from Orlando to New Orleans. And, while it wasn’t the MOST relaxing roadtrip I’ve ever taken, it wasn’t terrible.

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So, what can I say about New Orleans. Well, IT WAS SO FREAKIN’ HOT!!! Like, seriously, I was not prepared for how sweltering it was gonna be! I mean, I knew it was gonna be hot, but I’m from Florida! We’re further south than NOLA!!! I thought I’d be able to handle it. Well, yea, NO. It was like hanging out in Satan’s armpit for five days. Wasn’t the best. However, the city is BEAUTIFUL. And so much fun! Really, all the stories you’ve ever heard about New Orleans are true. It’s just one, big party 24/7, and it’s GREAT. I definitely recommend going. Just, ya know, maybe NOT in the middle of summer? I hear October is a GREAT time to go.

All that being said, I didn’t get to experience too much of the city and all it’s excitement because: ALA was A LOT. I’ve never been to ANY kind of book conference before, so everything was completely new to me. I mean, I sorta had a game plan, and I had some great friends from Twitter offering me tips and such. But for the most part? I was completely on my own.

So, for three days, I would show up at the convention center at 8AM. The exhibit floor would open at 9AM. And then it was just never ending walking and waiting in lines. Which I don’t mean to sound like complaints! But, to say that it wasn’t draining, would be a heinous lie. The three days that I attended kind of fell into three neat categories: walking, lines, and wrap-up.

Day 1 was all about walking. I was at the center from 8-2 and spent the ENTIRE time walking. From booth to booth, and back again. Making sure I was where I needed to be, when I needed to be there, to pick up everything that I had my eyes set on. And for the most part, the things that I wanted MOST, were acquired on my first day. And yes, this does include my beloved Bridge of Clay ARC. God, it’s so beautiful. I was literally clutching it to my chest and rocking back an forth with it for an hour after I picked it up. No lie. I also had one signing on Day 1, and it was the one I was most looking forward to: Laini Taylor and Muse of Nightmares. She told me I have the perfect book character name. It was super cool.

Day 2 was all about standing in lines. I arrived at the center at 8, and didn’t leave until 4. At least 6 hours of this time was spent standing in lines. I stood in line for 2 hours for Ransom Riggs and an ARC of the 4th Miss Peregrine’s book. Then it was 2 hours for the ARC drop for The Wicked King by: Holly Black. And another 2 hours for Mackenzie Lee and Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy ARCs. And then there were other lines sprinkled here and there. Needless to say, my feet and I were not on speaking terms by the end of the day. But, I did get to spend a LOT of time with some really cool people in all those lines. And I got some amazing ARCs. So, it was all worth it in the end.

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Day 3 was all about wrapping things up. It was my shortest day, 8-1, and was spent just aimlessly walking around, making sure that I didn’t miss anything, and waiting for the booths to break down. See, at the end of the conference, the booths don’t want to have to tote everything they have left over back home. So, they basically liquidate everything. They either sell all their stock at RIDICULOUSLY reduced prices (50% or more), or they just give everything away. So, after spending my morning collecting ARCs that I might’ve missed due to the business of the previous days, I got my butt over to the Penguin/Random House booth for their 12:30 break down. That is where I picked up my final books of the trip.

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I can honestly say that, even with how physically and emotionally draining it was, this was one of the best things I’ve EVER done. I learned so much. I got to experience so much. I met some of the most AMAZING bloggers, librarians, publishers, and authors. And it was a LOT of fun. Even if it was ungodly hot and took a massive toll on my feet, shoulders, and back. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything in the world. If you ever get the opportunity to attend, I HIGHLY suggest you do! You’ll never forget it.

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Sunday Fun-day: I’m exhausted….so here’s my cat!

Howdy y’all!

So, if you weren’t aware: ALA 2018 took place last weekend/this week, and I got to go! That being said, I am EXHAUSTED. So, I don’t have a post scheduled for today, and I’m not really up to making one. So, to make up for it, I’m going to just post a bunch of pictures of my adorable cat, Gidget!

Thanks for understanding! I just need some time to recuperate. I promise I’ll make a post talking all about ALA for next Sunday! Until then: it’s kitty time!!!!

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Sunday Fun-day: Reading Progress Bookmarks

I think that, in this day and age, most people have a way of keeping track of how many books they read. Whether it be Goodreads, a journal, excel sheet, etc. But, how many people have an actual, physical, representation of the number of books they’ve read?

Since July of 2014, I have been collecting bookmarks for every book I’ve read. Don’t ask me why I started doing this; I couldn’t give you an answer. But during my very first Booktube-A-Thon, I started keeping track of the books I was reading with these little bookmarks I picked up at BooksAMillion. From then, it just, continued, and continued, and continued.

As you can see, I eventually ran out of the orange BooksAMillion bookmarks, and was reluctant to purchase more, as I saw that this was going to be an ongoing endeavor, and realized it was going to cost quite a bit of money. This lead me to a very cheap (FREE!), colorful, and fun alternative: paint samples. They are very conveniently already sectioned off, as the orange bookmarks were, which make it easy to list the: book title, author, start and finish date, and some comments about the book.

This has had a very positive affect on my reading habits. Often, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the numbers we see floating around on social media of the number of books we see our peers reading. It’s very easy to start to compare yourself to them, and start feeling inadequate. But this? This is a physical representation of MY work. Of what I have accomplished. It’s not some data point that I have to measure to anyone else’s. This is mine alone. Something I can hold, and feel, and actually see with my own two eyes. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but it’s been really helpful to me over the years, and I highly recommend it to everyone to try out.

I have a video that goes into slightly more details about this on my channel, which you can check out here. And, as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask away in the comments!

Sunday Fun-day: Discussion – My History with History

Often times, I get the question, “Chardon, if you weren’t going to be an English teacher, what would you-” History. I would teach history. And I would teach it right.

Okay, whoa there. That’s a loaded statement. “Right?” What does that mean?

Don’t worry. I’m going to explain. It’s probably gonna be a while though. So, maybe run and get some snacks or something? Okay, let’s get started.

All great passions, like great super villains, have an origin story. I’ve found that it’s quite rare for one to just wake up one day and be passionate about a thing. It all starts somewhere. My passion for history started in my 7th grade English class. Yes, you read that right.

The year was 2005, I was 12 years old, and our assigned class novel was The Devil’s Arithmetic by: Jane Yolen. For those of you who don’t know, The Devil’s Arithmetic is a middle-grade novel that follows a young Jewish girl as she travels back in time to experience life in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. It’s an incredibly moving novel, and remains one of my all-time favorites to this day.

Let me say this: I had no idea what the Holocaust was before I read this novel. I was never taught what the Holocaust was until this novel. Seventh grade. Twelve years old. And before you start thinking, “Oh, well at least this teacher assigned this book, and you were finally, properly, educated about the topic!” No. That’s not how this went.

Yes, she assigned the book. I learned about how this group of Jewish people was taken from their village, and put into this terrible labor camp. They were brutalized and killed. It was terrible, heartbreaking, horrifying. How could this have happened to this one group of people? Where were the police? Where was the government? Were these evil people ever caught? Thank God this never happened to anyone else.

This is what I was led to believe. The book only covered this one, isolated experience. It followed this one girl and her family, from this one village, one time. It never went any broader than that. So, why would I think that this was any bigger?

A few days after we finished the novel, we walked into class, and the teacher immediately started writing numbers on the board. 6,000,000 and 1,446. The estimated number of Jewish people killed during the Holocaust, and the number of U.S. troops killed during the Iraq War (at the time). I was astonished. Six million? How? When? Where? I thought that this was just this one village? How did six million people die???

She then started talking about the horrors and devastation of war. This is when I learned that the Holocaust occurred during World War II. Again: seventh grade. Twelve years old.

This wasn’t the first time I’d heard of WWII. I’d learned about that before. My grandfather had fought in it. It was the worst war in all of history. It was the war Hitler started. He wanted to rule Europe. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. And we dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. And then we won. This is what I was taught about WWII. They never said anything about the Holocaust. Ever.

She then started talking about how the deaths of the Jewish people, and that of our troops in Iraq, weren’t all that different. One of my fellow classmates, and a good friend of mine, interrupts her: “Are you seriously comparing the Iraq War to genocide?” She told him that, in all actuality, they were quite similar. My friend got up from his desk, collected his things, and walked out of the room. I was shocked. Why would he do that? He never acted up in class. He was never disrespectful. Why was he so mad? And what the hell was “genocide?”

That was the end of it. We never discussed anything else about the book. Never talked about the Holocaust again. Never learned what “genocide” was. We moved on to a contemporary novel about a community garden, and went about our lives. Well, my classmates went about their lives. I was stuck. I still had so many questions. I didn’t understand. But I wanted to.

That day, I went home, typed “World War II” and “The Holocaust” into google, and I read. And read. And read.

I read everything. I was beyond overwhelmed. I was beyond horrified. I was beyond anything and everything you could possibly imagine.

This was huge. This was, literally, the worst thing that had ever happened in all of human history. Everyone knew about this. There was more information about this than I would ever be able to read in my entire lifetime. I was in seventh grade. I was twelve years old. I had never heard of this before. I had never been taught about this. I knew absolutely nothing. And I was pissed.

Why the hell were we not being taught about this? This was so important, and devastating, and just, HOW??? It changed the entire course of, not only American history, but history as a whole! How was this not important enough to make it into our curriculum? It baffled me. It disgusted me.

I paid close attention to the structure of my history classes for the rest of my school career. Every year, when we would receive our textbooks, I’d flip to the section about WWII. At max, the section would be 8 pages long. At max, the number of pages dedicated to the Holocaust would be just one. Usually, it would only get a paragraph or two. And the amount of class time dedicated to the topic boiled down to a few sentences: Hitler started the Holocaust. Six million Jews died. It was bad.

The worst thing to happen in all of human history. The genocide of over six million people. Two paragraphs. A few sentences. Every. Single. Year.

Everything I know about this subject: Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, Soribor, The Final Solution, Nazis, the Third Reich, Dr. Mengele’s experiments, Zyklon-B, Anne Frank, the ghettos, D-Day, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Manhattan Project, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Höss, the bombing of Dresden, the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the British air raids, kristallnacht, the occupation of the Baltic nations by Stalin, what really happened at Pearl Harbor, what really happened with the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Iwo Jima, Japanese internment camps, the extermination of the Romani, the homosexuals, the disabled, the Communists, basically anyone that the Nazis didn’t like, and so, so, so much more.

All of it. I learned all of this on my own. I learned about all of this by googling every book, documentary, movie, tv-show, article, anything, that I could find about the subject, and devouring them all. I learned none of this in a classroom.

This isn’t the only instance of the utter failure of the American school system in regards to my history education either. We have Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill, and we celebrate Columbus Day every year, but they never taught us about their roles in the near annihilation of Native Americans. They had us memorize the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, but never taught us that Jefferson owned slaves. They made us read The Crucible by: Arthur Miller in high school, but they never taught us about the real Salem Witch Trials.

And the Suffragette Movement? The Selma to Montgomery March? The Stonewall Riots? The AIDS epidemic? Not even a whisper. No mention of it at all.

It’s a topic that still boils my blood. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about just how much I was let down by the education system, and how utterly disappointed, and enraged, I am about it. And I went to some of the best schools in the state of Florida.

This is where my passion comes from. This is why historical fiction is my favorite genre. This is why Elizabeth Wein and Ruta Sepetys are my f*cking heroes.

I learned quickly that: If I wanted to learn history, I had to teach myself. So I did. And I had lots of help. Most of which came from YA historical fiction authors, like Elizabeth Wein, Ruta Sepetys, Ann Rinaldi, Jane Yolen, Markus Zusak, Monica Hesse, Celia Rees, and many more. They were my teachers. Their books were my classroom. I’m eternally grateful to each and every one of them.

The saying goes: “Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” So, think back on your own knowledge of history. Do you feel confident? If not, then take matters into your own hands. Pick up a book, watch a documentary on Netflix, go see the historical drama film. Hell, ask me for a recommendation. Help stave off the doom of repeated mistakes. Learn the history.

 

 

 

Sunday Fun-day: My Best Friend Picks My TBR

I originally saw this idea over on Meggan @ Between the Pages blog. She had her fiancee pick her TBR for her. Well, I don’t have a fiancee, or a significant other of any kind, but I do have a best friend. So I had her pick books for me! I created little groups of three books, and had her pick whatever one she liked, for whatever reason she wanted. Here are the books she picked out for me!

Round #1:

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“I choose Circe, because my grandma’s name is Madeline.”

I’m soooo excited she picked this one! The Song of Achilles is one of my all-time favorite books, so I can’t wait to read Miller’s next novel!

Round #2:

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“I pick the Seven Husbands one, because my name is Taylor.”

I’m really glad she picked this one too! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book, so I’m excited to see what all the hype is about!

Round #3:

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“I like the Ashes one.”

An Ember in the Ashes has been on my TBR for the longest time, but I’ve always put off reading it. Not sure why. Guess it doesn’t matter now. The thing is going to be read by me!

Round #4:

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“Tiger Lily. Because Peter Pan.”

Tiger Lily is another book that has been on my TBR for FOREVER, that I just never picked up. But, the time is now. I’ve heard it will destroy my feels. True?

Round #5:

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“I like that one (the whale one).”

This is also super exciting! This is the upcoming release from one of my all-time favorite authors! And there’s pictures!!! YAY!!!!

This was a bunch of fun! I always have the hardest time picking my TBR out for myself. This is a really fun way to get your books all picked out for the month, and there are so many ways you can alter it to suit you best! Totally recommend it! Go for it!