2017’s 30 books

it seems a bit odd to write a post midway through january reflecting on last year. but then again – and this has probably gone through my head more times than i’d have liked it to – if not now, when?

whenever i think about that phrase i remember emma watson’s speech at the united nations: if not me, who?

i’ve learnt, last year, that there are so many people and organisations out there that pretty much exist to help me get through life. that’s probably not something new i’d found out, but experiencing the help was new. 2017 was a bad, bad reading year for me. i don’t think i would have managed 30 books if it wasn’t for my access to the romance/fantasy manga kamisama hajimemashita. i’ve got the last volume on my google books app but i’m reading through it slowly because i don’t want it to end. i also read a volume of namaikizakari but it was so weird so i stopped v quickly. speaking of mangas, i’ve downloaded webtoons after murrz, on her instagram where she posts funny doodles, got featured. and boy, have i been addicted (it’s okay, it’s only been a day).

i’ve come to the realisation that i have a lot of time that’s mine these days. i only have eight hours of uni in a week which is next to nothing. sure, i have reading and essays that will take up my time but come on. only eight hours when i have to be where someone else has told me to go. everything else is mine.

it’s incredibly freeing. and what it means now is that i’m not going to give so much of a damn about when i sleep and when i wake and what i do with my time. yeah, that sounds like a recipe for disaster so let me word it a bit differently. i’m going to go through my list of things i want to achieve and i am going to work hard to achieve them and i am going to tell myself what to do.

anyway.

perhaps i am feeling like this because of november. i was admitted to hospital and i tried my best to be brave but i’m soft and i felt suffocated. i had willingly given control of my life to these people i didn’t really know because i couldn’t trust myself to take care of myself properly. i’m going to hold onto this newfound possessiveness thank you very much.

i don’t mean to sound snarky. november still hurts. i did read a few great books last year and i really wish i didn’t delete my old blog because it was beautiful. i don’t know how to recover the blog but if i could i would be so happy. but also, it was a blog. the pieces themselves weren’t the only things that kept that website special, it was the timing of the posts.

all i can do is move on.

but reflection is good, perhaps i’ll realise how far i’ve come. i’d recently started using todoist again and it is obvious how much more attention i pay towards self care. perhaps it is out of a fear of detonating again but also there was a lot of fear in 2017. using paper and pen to write my thoughts down always reminds me of grenfell tower and the picture or video of a piece of lined paper floating down from the sky.

lucy moon has a grenfell tower tee that she wears to sleep and shows on her videos sometimes. and sometimes people get deeply uncomfortable by it. i guess reminders of tragedies have their time and place and shouldn’t be casually placed in vlogs.

i read a book about fear in 2017, in the summer or at least towards the end of it, called between the world and me by ta-nehisi coates.

the last book i read in 2017 was a room of one’s own by virginia woolf. it was great. my uni told me to write an essay on it and i really wanted to. i already knew the mic-drop sentence i was going to end the essay with. sadly, depression got the best of me and i’ve scheduled to do the essay in may. god knows if they’ll accept it but it’s okay if they don’t. i am an essay writer and unashamed of it.

on my good days, i am an essay writer and unashamed of it.

on my good days.

right! the first book i read in 2017 was probably homegoing by yaa gyasi. but i did lots of shifting around on goodreads last year (and on my internet presence as a whole, and also on my irl presence i just couldn’t feel comfortable at all and kept on shifting as a result).

i read a few artsy books: rupi kaur’s milk and honey and steal like an artist. loved it.

i met another mahima, and she lent me her copy of her favourite book will grayson, will grayson. so that’s special.

the worst book, the most waste of time one, was a sense of an ending by julian barnes. it was so pointless and i tried to google reviews that could explain this book to me (and why it’s so damn good when it completely went over my head) but got frustrated and gave up. that was the theme of 2017 by the way and i can’t even say “if you haven’t been paying attention” because i got frustrated and gave up with the controversies and now nobody knows what i’m on about.

some books were half-disappointments. sadly, after fangirling over a sample of this book i read last year, when i got my hands on the entire book it was just anticlimactic. i’m talking about the much-loved a darker shade of magic by v e schwab. it’s one of those strange books i want to love so bad but it was just underwhelming.

i read another ya. and it’s come to my attention that as much as i love ya i don’t come across it a lot which is something i don’t feel much about (another theme of 2017, followed by extreme bouts of feeling a LoT). this one was holding up the universe by jennifer niven and it was so pure even though it grappled with ugly stuff. sometimes i’m like reading ya is like sugar-scented meditation: it’s supposed to help you deal with your inner demons in a powerful way but the difference here is that ya seems a little more artificial then trying to follow headspace.

sometimes though ya is magical and that’s why i’ll never give it up.

goodbye to berlin was bad. it was fiction apparently. and then other people are like it’s journalism. and okay, i don’t mind. but the mystery of this being fiction really got to me and so i started looking for the fiction and upon not finding it threw the book out of the window. (not really, i wish).

i’m a girl. and i’m a girl who has always been a feminist/grappled with being a feminist/really, really grappled with being a feminist. it’s problematic because it’s an umbrella term and i had a sexy post on the controversies that explained this in greater detail but bah. it’s not like you were going to click it anyway. (again, or maybe this is the first time? but i apologise for the snark, last year was not my year and reflecting on it is making me feel a little salty). as a girl i signed up to the social mobility foundation’s aspiring professionals’ young women programme. i attended only three sessions but was gifted lean in by sheryl sandberg anyhow. also, mahima, the good folks at linkslaters are there to help you too. you have help. you have so many connections. don’t despair. you’re not alone.

lean in was so motivating. i had always been indecisive about what path i wanted to take. i felt like they were very conflicting: become a teacher, get married, have kids, have long holidays with the kids or have a career and come out as bi for all the aunties to know that i’m Off Limits. but lean in was like no! you can have both! be a career woman and a wifey it don’t matter. (newsflash: i’m still Off Limits and very bi).

you know, writing a blog post like this feels weird. i’m getting that strange adrenaline again, the determined sort of energy to win. someone wrote a post about depression as a loaded gun. don’t point it at your head or at others. point it at things that will help u. so this guy who wrote this brilliant genius piece, he’s a farmer yeah, so he goes and spends a day cutting brambles (i think that’s the technical term?) and yields his depression to do this task that’s been put off for ages. he feels the pain of the thorns and overexerts his body and it’s simple but genius.

god.

i saw a post on managing anxiety on tumblr (i don’t think i have that one really, but they both are so hard to distinguish from each other) and the guy was like he wouldn’t really recommend this but sometimes you just gotta exhaust yourself. a lot of depression is having pain and not knowing where to put it. so you “punish yourself” by exercising until you’re knackered. it feels damaging in the moment but actually you’re making your body stronger. he says to be cautious though. you don’t want this to be regular.

but i get it. if depression is not knowing where to put the pain, then im going to have to put the pain to use.

the sellout had me on twitter w fire emojis. the subtle art of not giving a f*ck by mark manson and everything is illuminated affected me deeply. the first with Wisdom I want to read again and take notes on, and the second on how to write, how meta i should get with my writing.

atonement was sad, like illuminated but atonement was also a literary meta bloody whoa! (yeah, i so studied this for a levels).

this year, i want to take more pictures of books.

 

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