books · features · lists · shanti

Year of the Asian!

Hi Virtually Readers! The lovely CW @ Read Think Ponder has, along with several other wonderful people, created a reading challenge called Year of the Asian, where you basically try to read more books written by Asians. I’m signing up for the Indian Cobra level, where you have to read 20 books, but hopefully I’ll manage to read more. I actually already did a tweet about this; if you follow me on twitter, that’s great, I do not spend enough time there (because it stresses me out) and it is mostly sporadic inanity so super fun, basically. Anyway, why am I participating in this? (all images created by CW, who is a phenomenally talented human)

Continue reading “Year of the Asian!”

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blogging · books · collabs · discussions · features · shanti

Our Fourth Blogoversary!

It’s our blogoversary! Shar and I have been writing about books for 4 years on this little site, and we’ve changed a lot over that time, and hopefully gotten better at writing. We’re going to sort of interview each other about it to celebrate, because writing posts together is fun. This is definitely something to celebrate, and we’re so glad to be here to do it!

Continue reading “Our Fourth Blogoversary!”

books · features · shanti

Diagnosis: Stress Reading

Remember YA Psychologist? You should, because YA Psychologist was great. Anyway, in that vein, I thought I’d talk about a disease which has been afflicted me greatly recently: stress reading. Of course I read stressfully, when I am forced to read things for educational purposes. But I mostly read stressfully because of libraries. I love libraries and everyone should support them. But they do have due dates. This is particularly acute with digital books: because they’re digital, I don’t have to physically return them which makes me less likely to do so, and I also have ppor impulse control and end up with a whole lot of books that I don’t have time to read. But stress reading can happen to anyone, so I thought I’d share a diagnosis manual, because why not medicalise everything?

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Symptoms:

  • feeling like you have to read fast otherwise you’ll let people down
  • looking at your bookshelf and feeling panic rise within you
  • losing all self control when requesting books from publishers and at the library
  • having more than five books on your ‘currently reading’ list
  • not being able to read because you have so much to read

Possible Causes:

  • trying to read too much
  • underestimating how long it will take you to read things
  • going overboard at the library
  • prioritising what you read and therefore losing control of everything that is not a priority
  • Acquiring every book that is recommended to you
  • having other things going on in your life that mean you can’t read as much as you plan to

History:

This problem is almost as old as the written word. Since Lady Murasaki wrote The Tale of Genji in the 11th century, more and more books have appeared, and many of them would probably be great–if you had time to read them. Want to be readers tend to accumalate all the books they want to read, and consequently, are unable to actually read them. Book doctors through the centuries have diagnosed stress reading, and linked it to library fines, miscellaneous non-bookish responsibilities, and the ownership of book blogs. Cases have risen particularly in the last seven years with the rise of digital ARCS and digital libraries.

Treatment:

Unfortunately, stress reading is a recurring condition. No matter how you treat it, it will probably flare up again, probably when you have other things to worry about. Still, treatment is not futile. If you have a severe case, try to go on a book buying and library ban until you have read everything you have. Secondly, remember that a lot of pressure is self imposed. you can simply choose to return books without reading them. If you have books from publishers that you must review, don’t beat yourself up if they’ve been publisehd for a while by the time you review them. Healing will take some time; to find joy in reading and maximise chances of success, read slowly, read for enjoyment, and take breaks.

In case it wasn’t clear…I almost constantly have a low-grade case of stress reading. But I’m coming to terms with my condition, and am going to try to read a book I own for every library book I read from now on. Let’s see how that goes….

Do you suffer from stress reading? what do you do to treat it? tell me in the comments!

blogging · discussions · shanti · writing

Book Bloggers Responsibilities

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about whether it is a book bloggers responsibility to promote reading, and if you want to know my thoughts on that, go read the post! but I also promised to write a post about book bloggers responsibilities in general, and this is that post. What are a book blogger’s responsibilities? After all, this is something we do by choice; not just reading, but reading and then making things out of it. Do we have any obligations? And what does that mean for me?

Continue reading “Book Bloggers Responsibilities”

blogging · books · discussions · Shar

Discussion: Do I rate books based on genre?

I recently noticed something shocking; I was writing a review, and thinking ‘it was quite good—for a contemporary’. Contemporary isn’t my favourite genre, but there are also SO MANY good YA contemporaries out in the world. This got me wondering: is my star rating affected by genre?

Continue reading “Discussion: Do I rate books based on genre?”

blogging · books · discussions · Shar

Discussion: Why blogging makes me read things I dislike, and not read what I do like

All the time in the book blogosphere I see people saying ‘I want to read this but I don’t have the time’, or ‘all these new releases are stressing me out’, ‘I want to read X backlist title but I’m trying to keep up with new releases’. This is a post in response to that. It’s not about how all new releases are terrible (because there are so! many! good! new! books!), but rather that not letting how popular a book is determine if you read it. Continue reading “Discussion: Why blogging makes me read things I dislike, and not read what I do like”

books · shanti

Setting in Stone: The big announcement

Hi Virtually Readers! Do you remember Setting in Stone, the feature I’ve been doing for the last few months about the role that settings play in stories? (you better, because I love that feature). Anyway, I started this because I felt like setting representation is more important to me than character representation (which there will be a post about next time it’s my blogging week, don’t you worry 😉 ). I often feel stuck in a rut with settings: so many of the books I read are set in the UK or the US or another place that feels  very distant to me. Continue reading “Setting in Stone: The big announcement”

blogging · discussions · Shar

How to write a kick-butt book review (that people actually want to read)

Hi Virtually readers! I’m not sure about you, but reviews tend to be the posts that get the least traffic and comments on Virtually Read. This seems strange to me, considering reviews are basically the backbone of what book bloggers do. While I can’t claim that I’ve hit the ‘book review that everybody wants to read’ formula yet, I have learned something about book reviewing since I started (pls don’t read my first reviews they’re terrible), so that’s how this post could help you. Continue reading “How to write a kick-butt book review (that people actually want to read)”

blogging · books · shanti · Shar

The THIRD BLOGOVERSARY aka what is this

Hi Virtually Readers! Life is crazy sometimes and we have been blogging for three years. That’s 16.8% of our lives. It’s almost unbelievable that three years ago two girls sat by a laptop and signed up for wordpress and started to write about books.  But, obviously, we’re very happy to be here. As you may notice, we have a new design! Isn’t it pretty? We’re still working through a few kinks, but Shar did this a few weeks ago and I supported her and offered somewhat helpful advice along the way.We are going to have a giveaway at some point during this year, but our lives are just a bit busy right now, so that won’t be for a while.

Continue reading “The THIRD BLOGOVERSARY aka what is this”

books · not books · shanti · tags

The Liebster Award (the second)

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.

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Rules

  • 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.

Questions

  • 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.)

I mostly follow book blogs, and I always look forward to reading Loony Literate, Drizzle and Hurricane books, Musings from Neville’s Navel, Happy Indulgence and Miriam Joy Writes.

  • 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!