Staying Afloat & Finishing Well | A Summary of the Last Two Months

You may be asking yourself, what happened to Maggie? She wrote one (1) thing about the apocalypse and then dropped off the face of the earth, what gives?

Life. Life is what gives.

It should come as no surprise that the last few months have been full of… happenings that required me to make some temporary adjustments to my life. One of those adjustments was going on an “unplanned indefinite hiatus,” as a band I liked once put it. The quick explanation is that combining work, school, senioritis, and a magnified lack of motivation due to the happenings made things pretty challenging!

But things are different now! I’m graduated (!) and unemployed (?!) which means two obstacles are out of the way for the time being. One of the first things I wanted to do was fall back into my blogging routine, and fall into it I shall.

And what better way to do so than to give a major life update? I promise it won’t all be boring stuff, because I read a lot of books these past few months, played some new video games, and even wrote some words if you can believe it. So onward!

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February 2020 – Month in Review

Boy it has been a minute, hasn’t it?

My life, like those of many others, has been rather chaotic this March, so blogging has taken a backseat to things like passing my classes and staying mentally coherent.

But hey, I’m back, at least for right now! And while it’s not on schedule by any means, I still want to share my February in review (thank goodness I took notes for it earlier this month). In some ways, it might be rather nice to look back on when things were sort of normal.

But first, blog posts! In February, I wrote about:

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January 2020 – Month in Review

Another year, another January, another month in review. I’ve always thought January is kind of a strange month. On one hand, it feels like thirty-one Mondays in a row, but on the other hand, everything feels so fresh and exciting! That’s the approach I try to have, but when it’s dark by 5:30 p.m. and the temperatures are freezing most of the time, it’s hard.

On the bright side, there was a lot of new and exciting stuff to keep my spirits up this month! I’ll talk about all of that in just a second, but first, here’s what I blogged about this month:

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A Defense of Non-Traditional Reading

It’s a common stereotype that readers are notorious for hating on e-books, audiobooks, and pretty much any form of reading that isn’t a hardcover from 1974 with a faded velvet bookmark. You’ve seen the poorly-formatted memes and comics – kids these days with their “Kindles” and “Nooks,” not reading scrolls by candlelight like we did in ye olde America. What happens when your e-reader’s battery is drained, or you can’t find your headphones?

Don’t get me wrong, “non-traditional” forms of reading aren’t perfect. The blue light from our smartphones and e-readers is considered harmful, though there continue to be ways to work around that effect. You could argue that people tend to retain written information better when it is on a page rather than a screen. And of course, the aesthetic – there is nothing quite like having a beautiful collection of books to surround yourself with.

At the beginning of the month, my campus library posted this poll on their bulletin board:

12 library poll

And recently in my papermaking/bookmaking class, we’ve been talking about how books and the methods we prefer to use when we read them. Despite what the memes suggest, people of my generation still love printed text.

Unfortunately, this love of traditional reading often comes with a disdain for other ways of consuming books. But let me confess something: I love having e-books and audiobooks. As time passes, they’ve become a more present part of my reading experience, and I’m incredibly thankful for it. These days, when I hear someone mocking non-traditional reading, it takes a lot out of me not to start an argument. So instead of starting an argument in person, I’ve decided to write a little bit about why e-books and audiobooks are in some ways better than printed pages.

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2019: Year In Review

It’s the end of another year, and also the end of another decade. If you’re worried that I’m going to make you endure a ten-year retrospective like every other content creator on the internet seems to be doing, let me put your fears to rest: I’m not. I can barely remember what I did ten days ago, let alone ten years ago. And while you might be entertained by a cringeworthy look back at my pre-teen years, that’s a trip down memory lane I’m gonna pass on.

As is tradition though, I am going to wrap up 2019 with a look back at my favorites from the year. I promise you I’ll keep it concise, so without further ado, on to the lists!

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Fictional Festivities | 12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

‘Tis the season to curl up in front of a fireplace with a good book and a big mug of hot cocoa. Snowflakes are falling outside of your window, and the only sound you hear is the crackle of the fire and the crinkle of pages being turned. It’s just you and the book, no one else around.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it’s a big challenging to get into the “Christmas spirit” when you’re a student. My school wrapped things up particularly late this year, so I didn’t get to go home until December 19. Between research papers on medieval and Renaissance literature and politics exams, it was easy to forget that Christmas was right around the corner.

And so I thought, what better way to get ready to celebrate Christmas than crank up my favorite Christmas music and participate in a Christmas-y book tag? This is the 12 Days of Christmas book tag, created by Falling Down The Book Hole, though I learned about it through Paper Fury’s post a few weeks ago. I did my very best to limit my answers to books I read this year, though you’ll see I bent the rules a tad bit…

Without further ado, let’s celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas!

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How to Make Me Read Your Book | 6 Story Tropes I Live For

Let’s saw we go to an ice cream parlor. My treat. I order my sundae, which is chocolate ice cream with peanut butter sauce, cookie dough chunks, whipped topping and rainbow sprinkles (no cherry). You open your mouth to order yours, but I cut you off and say, “We’ll both have the same thing.”

“But Maggie,” you protest. “I don’t like chocolate ice cream. And I’m allergic to peanuts! I’d much rather have vanilla ice cream with fudge and oreos on top!”

“Well, you’re wrong. My sundae is the best kind of sundae, so you’ll just have to learn to like it,” I say.

Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Aside from the fact that my sundae would probably lead to me having a heart attack someday soon, it’s not gross or detestable. Neither is yours. Neither sundae is right or wrong, we just have different tastes in ice cream and its toppings, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes though, I think we get a certain idea about stories – we think that they have to be a certain way, and anything that doesn’t fit that mold is morally reprehensible. Granted, there are a few things that any story should have: your characters should be well-rounded and the plot should be coherent. Just as you wouldn’t put pickles on your strawberry ice cream, you wouldn’t write a story without those important elements.

But from there, who’s to say what the rules are? All audiences have different tastes when it comes to character and story tropes, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which ones work and hoping that the right person finds your story.

I try to keep an open mind when it comes to stories, but if I’m being honest, there are a few tropes that just get me, you know? Like, if I see one of those tropes in a story, and it’s being done well, it’s safe to say I’m hooked. I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorites today – maybe you’ll agree, maybe you’ll disagree, but hey, that’s the fun of it!

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Sunshine Blogger Award: The Sequel

Approximately a million years ago (actually, more like three years ago), I was tagged in the Sunshine Blogger Award by my dear book blogger friend Paige Turner. More recently, I’ve been tagged again by The Story Sponge! I figured we were due for another round of random questions, and they had some pretty great ones, so that’s what I’ll be participating in today.

Since it’s been quite a while since the last time I did this, here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them. (Did that above, but in case you missed it – thanks to The Story Sponge for nominating me!)
  2. List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  4. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  5. Ask the nominees 11 new questions.

Like I said, i got asked some pretty interesting questions, so without further ado, here we go!

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October 2019 – Month In Review

Every month I think, “surely this month will be less busy than the previous month” and every month I am proven wrong, but at least I’m consistent.

All that to say, there’s a lot I want to talk about, so I won’t waste any time getting to the important stuff! First off, this month, I blogged about:

And here’s my 1 Second Everyday compilation from October!

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Roasted Reads | 6 Thoroughly Disappointing Books

It’s autumn. Leaves are falling, the nights are getting longer, and there’s a chill in the air. It’s the perfect weather for a roaring bonfire. And you know what we do with bonfires?

We roast things.

Look, we’ve all been there. A close, trusted friend (or – gasp – a family member) recommends a book to us. They claim it’s the best use of ink since the first Bibles rolled off of Gutenberg’s printing press. And you trust them, so you decide to give it a try.

And you don’t like it.

Maybe you don’t hate it – maybe you’re just apathetic about it. And then when your friend/family member asks you what you thought, you’re caught in an awkward position. Do you risk your relationship by telling them the truth, or do you lie to spare their feelings?

I’ve read more than my fair share of what I would call “overrated” books. Not all of them are bad books – in fact, in many cases, I think they’re pretty decent works of literature. But the more I think about them, the less I like them. And mostly, I just think they need to be taken down a peg or two.

So gather around the campfire, readers. I’m about to roast some books.

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