Hi Virtually Readers! Cait, a most wonderful blogger, ‘replies’ to her search terms in her monthly recaps. Shanti and I have always found this most amusing, so today I’m going to reply to some of the search terms that lead people to our own blog. Also, our blogoversary is in two days (!!!) (yes, we won’t shut up about it. This only happens once a year, after all). So this seemed a fitting thing to do? We have more celebrations planned for next week. Some deliberate misunderstanding, and a great deal of gentle mocking, is going to go down.
Hi Virtually Readers! I’m adventuring in the mountains somewhere, but May @ Forever and Everly tagged us for The Liebster Award, which was really sweet of her. I’ve already done this once and am somewhat over it, just because it’s been around so long, so I’m not going to tag anyone.
- Thank the person(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
- Nominate 11 blogs and let them know they’ve been tagged.
- Give them 11 questions to answer.
- If you were to stop blogging, what would be the reason?
I’m not planning to stop blogging anytime soon, but it would probably be because I was really busy, or maybe if I got a lot of hate comments or if another big life event consumed me. Hopefully this won’t happen for a while, though I’m not sure that I’ll be blogging forever.
- What are some hobbies you have?
Well, apart from reading, I’m really into playing music! I’m okay at viola and piano. I also love baking, going for runs, and crafting. Oooh, and sewing and knitting. (which are like subsets of crafting but y’know)
- Would you rather be dead or die? (Yes, there’s a difference.)
I prefer the present tense, thank you very much.
- Do you like mangoes???
OF FREAKING COURSE.
- What book would you not feel guilty about stomping on, tearing, and burning in a fire?
Love in the Time of Global Warming, or The Spectacular Now. (not even gonna give them the respect of links to their goodreads pages)
- What blogs do you ALWAYS look forward to reading? (Or, if you’re afraid your dear readers might feel bad: What type of blogs do you tend to follow? ie. book blogs, lifestyle blogs, writing blogs, etc.)
- What’s one moment in your life you’d choose to play over and over again (aka re-experience over and over again?)
I’m not sure…maybe when I did one of my presentations a few weeks ago and it went well, or the moment when I received Strange the Dreamer. Ooh or the moment when I was told that I was the new newspaper editor at school.
- You have the choice of reading a book you HATE, every single day, or reading one good book per year. Which do you choose?
Reading one good book per year…I think it’s better to have one good book than a continuously hateful reading experience.
- What’s one food you will never get tired of eating??? (ONE food, people, ONE.)
Toast. There are so many variations. Vegemite, jam, chese, and let’s not forget the avocados.
- What would you do if someone walked up to you and gave you 100 bucks?
I would ask them why, and then I’d like to think I’d be selfless enough to give it away (or maybe spend it on something I really needed)
- How are you right now?
I’m doing pretty well, thank you very much. I’m a little wet because I just got back from the pool, and there’s a cat next to me and soft acoustic music playing and I’m trying not to think about how much I hate leaving to go hiking….
How are you at the moment, Virtually Readers? Tell me in the comments!
Hi Virtually Readers! A long long long time ago, the lovely Elizabeth@ Musings From Neville’s Navel tagged me from the 5 Truths and 4 Lies tag thingy. Thanks! Now, normally this is a book blog, not a all-about-my-life blog, but I thought I’d do this tag anyway. Basically, the premise is that I tell you 5 true things and 4 false things and you guess which is which in the comments and then at some point I reveal THE TRUTH. Some of this info can probably be found on this blog if you hunt around a little bit. Also, members of my family are barred from playing (sorry, guys). Let’s get to it!
- I really love history.
- I prefer wearing trousers to skirts.
- I did a lot of gymnastics as a child and still can do cartwheels and walkovers and the splits.
- I once managed to injure myself while laughing.
- I once managed to injure myself while brushing my teeth.
- I once managed to injure myself while putting on a scarf.
- I’m really good at origami.
- I like to get up early.
- A librarian once told me that I should be a librarian, and that’s my ultimate life goal.
So have fun guessing! I’ll reveal the answers later this week. And if you like, tell me one interesting fact about yourself in the comments.
Virtually Readers, today I’m going to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s kind of about Instagram, but it’s also about being Someone on the Internet and real life. I don’t know how well I managed to articulate my Thoughts, but hey, I tried, right?
I don’t have my life together. Like, at all. But that’s not something I talk about on this blog.
I don’t talk about how I feel a low-key anxiety spinning around my stomach whenever I think about my exam grades or finishing school. I don’t talk about the bad days, where I feel like I’m never going to be good enough (at chemistry or music or whatever). Same goes for my friendship problems, or the fact that I don’t know where I want to go for university, or even if I really want to major in what I think I want to major in.
On a lower level, I don’t talk about (or photograph) my messy room (although let’s be honest, most of the mess is Shanti’s) , or how much time I spent procrastinating on the Internet or otherwise today and how much I hated myself for it, and how I hated the sound of my alarm clock this morning because I’m so tired, and how I love my cat but have to push her off when she sits on me while I work, and how my toenails, which I painted bright pink a few weeks ago, are now half grown out and chipping.
* * *
A few months ago, we had to write an English essay about a type of media. I read my classmate’s draft, which was about how Instagram, specifically lifestyle accounts, make their followers feel like they’re not good enough because their lives aren’t perfect like the person’s they see on the screen. They hold themselves up to standards nobody can reach, not even the people who run these accounts, because they obviously don’t photograph or talk about the messy, imperfect parts of their lives. (This is a generalization). It was a pretty good essay, but I didn’t have Instagram at the time, so it didn’t really capture my attention all that much.
When I did get Instagram, I soon figured out I’d like to have a theme. For the last few months, I’ve settled on a sheet music background. I’ve scrolled around and found other beautiful, themed feeds with attached captions that made me feel like I was the only one who didn’t have her life together. (side note: I really don’t think my theme is amazing or great or anything. So many other bookstagrammers do a really good job. I just try. It’s not like the number one thing I put effort into or anything. )
Obviously, this isn’t true. But it got me thinking about how online identities make it very easy to choose what you show about your life. It’s easier to paint it in a rosy light when most of the people who follow you don’t see the rest of your life. And as followers, it’s easy to forget all the things the person doesn’t write about—the hard things and the messy things that are just as real as the beautiful feed or tweet.
I’m not trying to say this is bad, necessarily. I personally wouldn’t really feel comfortable discussing all the hard and messy aspects of my life online. Taking beautiful pictures of books or the Easter eggs I made is easier, not quite so personal (although that’s not to say that books or thoughts about books can’t be personal).
I guess all I’m trying to say is that we all know our own messes better than we can ever know other people’s, especially when everybody else is creating an image—a persona—on the interwebs (I just love that word). And as a community of book nerds, I think we should all remember that a perfect feed or lovely blog post doesn’t mean we’re complete failures. Let’s appreciate what other people do share about their lives, and appreciate the messes of our own.
So if you like my Instagram feed (or someone else’s tweets or a tumblr page), that’s great. But just because that is all match-y and coordinated, don’t assume I am, and wonder how you can ever keep up. Because I’m a total mess. (A nice mess which is able to function, but a mess nevertheless). And when I read our blog posts or look at your feed, I’ll try to do the same for you.
Do you ever have this problem? How do you decide what you’ll post online and what you won’t? What’s your favourite thing about social media vs. real life?
Hi Virtually Readers! I was going to write a discussion that week, and hopefully that will come, but I’ve been busy with passing high school (an activity that seems to take up a lot of my time). So when Cait @ Paperfury asked herself some bookish questions, I decided to join in. Also I put random book photos that I took for instagram in for no good reason except pictures.
Top 5 reads of 2017 so far?
I’ve only read maybe 25 books so far (which is a lot for me) but Wing Jones, Radio Silence, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and The Weight of Feathers are up there.
Top five favourite book friendships?
There are a zillion and I cannot remember them all but
- Aled and Frances from Radio Silence
- Apollo and Meg McCaffery from The Trials of Apollo
- Evie, Amber and Lottie from The Spinster Club
- Simon and Abby from Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
- Harry, Ron, and Hermione from Harry Potter
How many books are on your TBR pile?
I don’t have one. Muhahahaha! But there are a lot of books I want to read in my life. I just think I would be overwhelmed if I tried to keep track.
What are you reading soon?
This is a scheduled post, but as I write this I’m reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling. It’s kind of weird, because I’d never heard of her before getting this from the library, but the writing style is really accessible. I’m hoping to read You In Five Acts and maybe reread Bookishly Ever After or start Harry Potter 6 as well. But I ave school and stuff this week so. I just finished rereading Harry Potter 5 and it took an entire week but was quite good.
What are your feelings on book merchandise?
I like the idea but (kind of like Cait) I would rather own a book then waste all my money on merch. I’m also quite crafty and perfectly capable of making necklaces/bookmarks/quote posters etc. for myself and I don’t really see the point of buying them. Like candles and funko pops and things are cool but I don’t really need them. And I don’t see the point? Maybe this is because I live in India and don’t want to pay for postage so yeah.
Who is an amazing author you’ve recently discovered?
I really like Katherine Webber.
How long have you been a book blogger?
Shanti and I started this blog as Weavingwaveswords (what were we thinking with the name? who can know) in August 2014, when we were young and impressionable and also not very good at blogging. This became Virtually Read about a year ago, I think.
What’s your favourite thing about reading?
So many things! Some include:
- Being able to imagine what’s happening in your head-so it’s like you and the author are like sharing a world that you created together (if that makes any sense)
- Being able to learn from other people’s experiences
- Just learning more about the world and people in general
- Being able to choose how fast you read the story.
- How portable books are–you can read them anywhere and anytime, unlike, say movies. You can even read in class! (you may get in trouble but whatever)
What books have you finished recently?
I’ve finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Possibility of Somewhere, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and The Trials of Apollo recently. (Considering how I have used several of these titles in previous questions, you can see I have a bad memory)
Describe yourself in 5 book titles
This is hard because I can’t remember any titles but:
- The Girl With All The Gifts (the gift of forgetting things, for sure. Also overcommitting and reading fast)
- The Book Thief (I steal books from the library)
- Good Enough (and if you’re reading this, you are too)
- The Girl Who Could Fly (in my past life before I was born into this one *sob*)
(so what you should get out of this is that I’m a girl)
What’s up in your life?
Thank you for asking, person who wrote this question.
(*cough: me*) Oh look! A non-bookish question! School started two weeks ago and since then I’ve mainly spent my days a) going to school b)going to after school activities (fun ones include rock climbing, robotics, and aerials) c) doing homework. I also somehow squeeze in time for running and piano and blogging and instagram and seeing my family and chores.
Shanti and I are actually about to finish high school which is scary and I am currently in denial and wish the adults in my life knew how to talk to me about things other than university.
How did you find this tag? What are you going to read soon? What has your life been up to recently (this makes it sound like it’s a thing of its own but it’s not)? What are book titles that describe you?
Recently, Shar went on a ‘bookshop tour’ aka travelled to a fair few places, some of which involved her purchase of books. This is the story of everything she did (not literally: only the interesting parts) in the first 3 weeks of October.
Shar took a annoying 3 hour standardised exam, turned 17, and went on a school trip to near where she used to live. It was pretty. She also went to her and Shanti’s favourite childhood bookshop to buy her a birthday present (Shanti was not on the trip with her, because she was going somewhere Shar had already gone because Shar is more ahead of the game than Shanti is) (or so she likes to think)
Shar got Shanti these for her birthday:
And Shanti gave Shar this (currently halfway through and very confused)
Shar went to Jaipur, Rajasthan, for her midterm break, along with her family and some other people. There were a lot of pretty building and such ( but no bookshops)
Shar went to Singapore for various reasons (actually 1 reason but anyway). She was ALL BY HERSELF which was terrifying, but she didn’t a) lose her passport, b) die, c) get kidnapped, or d) any combination of the above, which was good. She also met Topaz and bought her mother a cookbook at BooksActually.
Shar went to school and was stressed. (And so it continued in November) (Also had a long weekend, in which she did homework)
Have you had any adventures of late? Were they fun? Did you have to ( oh horror) adult? What is going on in your life (hopefully less stress than Shar’s). Do you like third person?
A long time ago, I had a friend who tried to teach me how to make these super-cool paper stars. It was too hard, and I gave up. But recently, I was scrolling through Sophia’s instagram feed and I saw these stars again. I also saw Cait’s very large use of stars in her instagram. (seriously, they’re everywhere). I decided to try again, and with the help of this tutorial (which you should read if mine doesn’t make sense) I made one. It was so fun that I thought I’d do a post about it. (also I wasn’t using the camera I normally use and I forgot about the existence of macro so some photos are a bit blurry)
What do you need?
Scissors, paper, and some folding skills. I actually had some pre cut strips of paper from an old klutz kit, but I started off with paper from an old notebook. I’d recommend this, because it might take a few stars to get the hang of the thing, and then you can use your nice paper once your star making skills are practiced.
Fold a strip of paper and cut it. The wider the strip is, the larger star you’ll get, but if it’s too wide then the star won’t puff up properly. If it’s A4 length, 1-1.5 cm should be okay.
Cross the your strip over to make a loop.
Turn the loop into a knot by poking the end through the hole.
Tuck the loose end of the knot into the ‘pocket’ so it doesn’t bother you.
Basically you’re going to be winding the long end of the strip around the pentagon of the knot.
Keep going until you have a short end left.
Tuck this loose end in like you did with the original knot by sliding it into the side of the strip. (okay this is quite hard to explain)
Use your nails to squeeze out the edges of the pentagon to puff it out. It works best with 2 hands at once, but one of mine was trying to take the photo.
But it’s not working!
I have some suggestions.
- make sure your paper is roughly straight. If it isn’t, I suggest starting with the wider end.
- When you’re wrapping the ‘tail’ around the pentagon, try to do it firmly, but not squash the pentagon’s shape.
- Unwind and try again. (confession: the star I was taking photos of wasn’t puffin out properly, so I had to try again)
Give up and say you’re fabulous anyway.Don’t give up, but you are still fabulous no matter your origami skills.
You now have a star!
But you’re probably wondering: what do I do with it? Here are some ideas:
- Bookstagram/book photos. Because stars look cool.
- I didn’t do this, but my friend suggested that you could write something nice or inspirational on every star, stick it in a jar, and then give them to people/yourself when you need it.
- Decoration. Need I say more?
- Throw them at your siblings/annoying people.
- Hide them and play find the star.
Are you going to try this? Did my instructions make sense? What other uses can you think of for random paper stars?
School is starting soon and Shar doesn’t want it to. That is all she has to say. But she wants to moan so instead she wrote a whole blog post about it.
- Shar doesn’t want work. School=work( creating equations is something Shar learnt in maths class). She will have to do homework and
actually use her brain.She doesn’t appreciate the gift of learning, or a first world education in a third world country, or the fact that she is getting what so many people don’t want at all. No. There is work and it is not fun.
- She won’t be able to read books all the time. She will too busy with #1, and will be forced to deprive herself of sleep in order to prive (is that the term?) herself with fiction. Her life is super hard.(although she will have a school library, so that is good)
- Shar won’t have the time to write awesome blog posts.
- Shar has to start thinking about the Future out in the Big Bad World. She is not ready to adult. She just wants to be a sixteen year old airhead for one more year (although she’ll soon be a 17 year old airhead. She’s not ready for that either.).
- When it’s the holidays, Shar can go on long slow runs whenever she wants. Now she has to figure out how to fit breakfast, a piano practice, a (fast because of not much time) run, and often a shower, in and still get there at 7:40/8:30 depending on the day.
- Waking up early is not as nice as waking up late.
- Shar will actually have to get dressed instead of walking around the house in running shorts and random shirts. Running shorts and random shorts are the most comfortable ensembles on earth.
- Shar’s cat can’t snuggle with her at school. She can if Shar is free to do whatever she wants.
- Speaking of that, her dog is very deprived of love. He will be deprived forever if Shar can’t pat him and scratch his tummy.
- Shar will have to stand pet deprivation (oh, the horror) for 8 whole hours.
- Baking is delicious. Shar has no time to bake when she has to go to school.
- Listening to Hamilton non-stop (see what shar did there?) isn’t an option when you are trying to learn things like chemistry. (Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Burr-on?)
The only good thing is that Shar gets to use all her awesome stationery and cute notebooks
for something other than staring vacantly at (that’s totally a plausible notebook usage, right?).
How do you feel about school? Do you miss your pets?
Do you have a lot of first world problems? What is the latest development in your life?
Okay, so remember that time I wrote a novel? I wrote 50,000 mediocre words last June, and told you a little bit about them here. School sank it’s hooks in me for another year, but I’ve been editing in the last few weeks. And if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed a few snippets. For those of you who weren’t reading this blog last August, the novel is called Entreaty. It’s in the future, in New Delhi, about a girl called Pelican who is an intern and is attending celebrations of the end of the Riots for a few weeks while she waits for the real Nigerian ambassador to arrive. But at the celebration, someone is teleported away, and suddenly Pelican doesn’t know who to trust, except for Asli, the French Ambassadors son and the boy in the downstairs flat. Today I’m linking up with Paper Fury’s Beautiful People to tell you about Pelican and Asli’s childhood.
- What is their first childhood memory?
Pelican: Her first childhood memory is going for a walk with her father to the supermarket. They would go walking together most evenings.
2. What were their best and worst childhood experiences?
Pelican: Her worst childhood experience was seeing her dad, who was a policeman, beaten to death during the worldwide Riots.
Asli: His best childhood experience was taking a trip to the UK with his parents. They saw lots of huge buildings which were disintegrating, and that made him want to be a restoration architect.
3.What was their childhood home like?
Pelican: She lived in the suburbs of Lagos, in a little detached house. She had a cat and dog, and in fact she still does. But she is sort of too busy to take care of the pets, so her mum does it. She spent almost as much time at her friend Sana’s house as at home.
4. What’s something that scared them as child?
Asli: He was really scared of being left alone. His parents are both busy people, so he had a lot of time at home alone—and then with his little sister Lily. He would hold on to his mum’s hand really tight when they were in public, just so she didn’t abandon him.
5.Who did they look up to most?
Pelican: she really looks up to Kawa Syllah, the Foreign Minister that she’s been interning with for the last two years. Kawa always seemed to have it all planned out and not have the insecurity and mistakes that plagued Pelican. Lately, though, Kawa’s ruthless political tactics have left Pelican somewhat disillusioned.
6.Favourite and least favourite childhood foods?
Pelican’s favourite food as a child was the roti and subzi (flatbread and vegetables) that her dad would make. The food still has a lot of sentimental associations for her.
Asli hated (and still hates) all cocoa based products. He’s a hipster like that. If probably has more to do with the fact that when he was two or three his mother, who is a lawyer, took on a case against exploitation of young labourers in the cocoa producing region of Tajikistan (remember, climate change has changed the habitat of the world) and told him all about it while he was watching Charlie and the Chocolate factory. He hasn’t trusted cocoa ever since, and doesn’t like the taste anyway.
7.If they had their childhood again, would they change anything?
Pelican: Because she was always so busy at the Foreign Ministry, Pelican grew apart from her friend Sana (who she does meet in Entreaty). Trying to save their friendship, she abandoned her duties for a few moments and this led to a permanent fracturing of the relationship between Nigeria and Japan. She would definitely change her decision in that moment if she could do it again.
8.What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?
Pelican: She was a methodical, studious child with a weakness for VNNV (an ABBA equivalent) and marmalade.
Asli: He was a curious, resentful child who wished that things didn’t have to change. He loves reading, but only paper books.
9.What was their relationship to their parents and siblings like?
Pelican: She adored her father, but sort of missed out on getting to know him. Now that she’s in India, where he came from, she really regrets that. She and her mother have a lot of mutual respect for each other but they’re both really busy. Even before the Foreign Ministry, Pelican did a million extra curriculars, and her mum was always at the marine biology lab. So they don’t spend much time together, and don’t know each other well as a result. She’s an only child.
Asli: His little sister, Lily, really annoys him. They like each other, but that translates into food-stealing, ponytail-pulling, and a lot of teasing. But when it comes down to the important stuff, they were always there for each other, even when their parents couldn’t be.
10.What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?
Pelican always wanted to do something for peace. When she got her job at the Foreign Ministry she decided that meant diplomacy. She loves lots of parts of being a diplomat, but after the events of Entreaty she’s not so sure.
Asli: He wanted to be a librarian before visiting the UK and seeing all the buildings he could restore. Now he wants to be like Mika Muhammed, his hero (who I actually wrote a short story about!) and be an architect, but he hasn’t applied to universities or anything yet, so who knows what could happen. He’s much more into the espionage they have to do than Peli is.
So do you dabble in the dark arts of writing? What do you think about Entreaty? tell me in the comments!
Hey Virtually Readers! I’ve seen several ‘Blog Post Idea generators’ around the blogosphere, and, being a self-confessed complete blogging expert on everything, I thought I could add mine into the mix.
- Find a dictionary (or even just a random book page.) Close your eyes and point your finger at a word, then spend at least 500 words discussing how much your chosen word means to you, how important it is, how it has affected your life, etc.
- Tell us about how exciting (or boring) your last shower was.
- Eat cat food/dog food/dirt then describe the experience.
- The pros and cons of your bookshelf design.
RuinImprove a favourite book by analysing every single literary technique it uses, its effect, and how the reader is manipulated.
- Find the worst thing you wrote about four years ago, then
inflict it onshare it with your readers.
- Complain about how you can’t think of a blog post idea for as long as you can.
- Draw your favourite book/thing (let’s be honest, all our favourite things are books) with your eyes closed, then explain how this shows you’re the next Monet.
- Take photos of your blister/sunburn/hangnail and complain about the pain.
- Choose a
mundanereally interesting event from your life (like that time you innocently were walking along the footpath and a dog barked) that your audience will be boredfascinated by.
- Choose a topic you know nothing about (for example, I know nothing about League of Legends) then talk about it like an expert. (This is a fabulous game which involves clicking with a mouse and diffraction beams.)
- Take photos of your laptop at different angles on the floor. (This is postmodern-there is no need to include explanations. The photos should convey everything you need to.) like so:
- Share your bookstagram fails.
- Find some pens. Take photos of the pens. Give a detailed backstory to each pen. (I got this one before school started, this one from my friends house, this one from the floor… you get the idea)
- Find every pom pom in your house. Put them in your bookshelf. Share the story of your epic pom-pom finding mission.
- Write a post about what is under your bed.
- Invent a terrifying monster. Draw it
realisticallyas best as you can. Write about it as though it is real. (Bonus: include this in your list of things under your bed. )
- Roll your cat/brother/face across the keyboard. Add vowels where necessary. Pretend your post is not gibberish and add irrelevant photos (e.g of your cat, brother, face, or sink) e.g a;kasdiow jafkelew
- Complain about your lack or comment/followers/appreciators of your GENIUS.
- Write about the last thing you ate.
(In case you can’t tell, this entire post is a joke.)
Which of these ideas was worst? Which was best? Ever at a loss for inspiration ( I wasn’t, obviously.)? What was the last thing you ate? Who doesn’t appreciate your genius? (I’ll cry with you, and you can feel better. 😛 )