Archive for the ‘discussions’ Category:

defining depth & scrutinizing shallowness

discussions

one of my greatest fears in life is becoming a two-dimensional or superficial/shallow person, or simply a person that lacks depth. but recently i’ve been thinking – what does being shallow really mean? how do you define depth? are these two things really all that black and white? i decided to do what i do best when i’m battling thoughts like this: blog about it. (side note: the word superficial is also usually associated with females *cough stereotypical “white girls” cough* and i find it a bit sexist, but i’m not going to go into that because then this post would be way too long.)

let’s talk about shallowness

su·per·fi·cial
adjective

1. appearing to be true or real only until examined more closely.
2. not having or showing any depth of character or understanding.

nobody wants to be called superficial. whenever people catch themselves doing shallow things, they usually try to hide it or deny it or act like they don’t care. but why is that even necessary? i mean yes, we just established that we don’t want to come across as superficial, but seriously. it kind of appalls me because i know of many admirable fashion bloggers or celebrities who are intellectual and “deep” people, but probably also care very much about their social media and style and fame and whatever is popular/mainstream, which are all things that are “shallow.” being superficial is generally thought of as BAD!!! but doing superficial things – like caring about your instagram feed – doesn’t always mean it’s bad. (wait, what????)

some things people generally think of when defining shallowness:

  • a person who only cares about materialistic things
  • like makeup or clothes
  • or how many likes you get on instagram
  • as well as follower/friend count
  • living your life through social media
  • selfies and good filters
  • caring more about the aesthetic of something more than the thing itself
  • buying a lot of stuff and hauling
  • being rich and/or famous (i.e. the kardashians)
  • caring about what others think of you, what others are doing, and basically what’s “popular”
  • basically anything related to materialism, pop culture, and the mainstream

i’m going to openly admit to being guilty of doing or being one or more of the above things. but that doesn’t mean i’m shallow… does it? just because i care about aesthetics and like to haul/buy things and live on social media and do other “shallow things,” doesn’t mean i lack depth as a person, right? right! (right???) then how and/or why did these ideas come to associate themselves with this concept?

“It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.”

– John Green, PAPER TOWNS

i apologize for all these – rhetorical or not – questions, but i’m just trying to wrap my brain around this. i don’t understand why we, as normal human beings, feel the need to stop or defend ourselves for liking the things we like or doing the things we do. i don’t really think any of these things dubbed shallow really change or affect the depth of me as a person. that being said…

what does it mean to have depth?

depth
noun

1. complexity and profundity of thought.
2. extensive and detailed study or knowledge.

this is a term i find difficult to define and one that varies from person to person. we all define and see depth a bit differently. i mostly find it as something (or someone) that has a lot of meaning and a lot of layers, something that could mean one thing but could also mean another thing that’s on the other side of the spectrum. depth in yourself is something you create and decide and realize in your own time.

okay, so how do these two concept collide?

i mentioned earlier that my definition of depth is a concept that has meaning and/or multiple meanings. so, what if i found it meaningful – to me – to enjoy a superficial act or thing? (example: aesthetics or social media) *mic drop* i don’t find that thing or act superficial anymore because i made it meaningful. it has meaning to me, and i made it have depth to me. (however it still may seem like a superficial thing to others.)

i still don’t completely understand how or why these associations of shallowness and the items on my list (plus other i didn’t mention) came to be, but i no longer find these attributes to be completely negative, nor do i find shallowness to be as bad as i thought it was at the beginning of writing this post. for example, MEAN GIRLS has generally negative connotations on fashion and popularity and the like; but this doesn’t mean obsessively shopping for clothes or makeup or, in our case, books is a bad thing. if you find meaning in growing your social media following or taking photos that are “so tumblr” then do that. go do you, and ignore those who say or think otherwise.

“We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it. Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us. Everyone, everything, has a story, Gia. When you learn those stories, you learn experiences that fill you up, that expand your understanding. You add layers to your soul.”

– Kasie West, THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND

i don’t think it’s really truly possible for someone to be 100% superficial. (if there is a person that is like that, i’d hardly think this person is even a human being anymore.) we all have depth in our own unique ways. books taught me to look at things from multiple POVs and perspectives. the person you may find “fake” probably isn’t all that you think he/she is. it’s also good to note that other people’s morals and thoughts and definitions may not match yours and THAT’S OKAY. for example, i know for a fact that donald trump and i think on very different wavelengths. he can go on doing his own thing as long as that thing doesn’t affect me. (in which case, him running for president and possibly changing the country of america is VERY BAD and that’s when i get all prickly.)

anyway, what are your thoughts on shallowness and depth? this topic always gets me thinking so i’m curious to hear your perspective on it!

how do you define your well-loved books?

discussions

when the phrase “well-loved books” is used, we generally think of our tattered paperbacks or copies that are falling to SHAMBLES. i suppose the interpretation fits because it implies that you’ve read the book over and over and over again, and assumes your love for it is endless. BUT, half of my favorite “well-loved” books are in pristine condition. i would collapse if the pages creased or the spine broke or there was a strain on it. so that got me thinking…

what makes a book “well-loved?”

until recently, all of my books had to be in PERFECT condition. if you wanted to borrow my books, you had to agree to a few terms, as they were rules i gave myself as well. note taking or highlighting was not allowed; if you’re bringing to school or work, you need to hold the book in your arms so the edges don’t get crinkled; the spine can’t break and there can’t be stains of any kind. i loved my books so much, they were basically precious gems. i even forced my friend to buy me another copy of a book when she returned it in alright poor condition. doesn’t this mean i love my books?

well-loved books

but after finding it bothersome to constantly have a separate notebook to take notes, i decided to – wait for it – highlight a sentence in one of my books. i know SO REBELLIOUS. the task made me feel simultaneously guilty and relieved; i felt like i somehow betrayed my book and myself, but it was also as if i’d claimed the book as ~mine~. no one else would highlight the exact same book in the exact same way, and now my book was special… but also, in a way, ruined? it’s no longer in “perfect” condition; it’s used and battered and, in my mind, “not cared for.” if that’d happened a few months or years back, i’d want to throw away my old set of books so i can proceed to buy another identical new set.

after a while, i embraced the small nicks and creases on the edges of the pages. i, myself, was okay with using what books are created for: to be read and LOVED. but then i thought about how there’d be internet trolls who comment on people’s photos saying the photographer is “destroying their books!!!!!!!!” when pages are ripped apart, worn, and used. this hasn’t happened to me personally, but we all know that one troll. it’s rude and wrong to tell a person they’re loving a book wrong, and that’s basically what these trolls are doing. because in the end, it’s your book and you can do whatever you want with it: put it in a glass case, dropping it in the toilet (the horror), dog-earing the pages, WHATEVER.

the phrase “well-loved books” is misleading because, as (super) readers, we all love our books – no matter if we decide to keep them in perfect condition or if we decided to break the spine.

there are still things i’d never ever do to my books – purposely breaking the spine, getting the pages wet, ripping any part of it – but it’s kind of eye-opening to not feel guilty every time i want to highlight a sentence or write in my book. it’s as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulder and ~at last, i seeeeee the liiiiiight~. everyone loves their books differently and that’s what makes each and one of our books special; that’s what’s magical about have a personal library.

how do you treat your well-loved books? let me know in the comments!

can you make money from book blogging?

discussion

i’ve thought, drafted, and never published posts about this topic for months now. i’ve consulted my number one source for help (google) too many times to count, regarding money making and blogging and how that relates in the book community. i’ve read a few bloggers (mainly Ashley from Nose Graze) talk about it, but it was generally avoided and considered “wrong” in the community. but when there were #bloggerconfessions going around on twitter yesterday, i decided to share the following tweet:

i was surprised by how many others responded; money making in book blogging is usually considered sketchy, but in order to make something a real JOB you need to make money! am i not the only one who think it could be a possibility? Aneeqah (The Writing Hustle), Kristen (Blissful Bookworm), and i started talking about how this needs to be a thing(!!), which led to Aneeqah writing her discussion post about it. if you haven’t yet, GO READ IT. anyway, Aneeqah made me realize that i really should talk about this. so peeps, LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS.

why is it considered wrong for book bloggers to make money?

there have been incidents of book bloggers trying to make money by selling their ARCs on eBay, which is absolutely ridiculous. when the majority of us bloggers talk about money making, we obviously don’t mean selling ARCs but after these happenings people tend to feel uncomfortable and wrong about money and books and blogging, which is understandable. but not every blogger is going to be shady when it comes to money and book blogging.

it’s normal to feel wary about the whole situation, but why are we allowing this to stop us? there are tons and tons of bloggers in fashion, lifestyle, fitness, WHATEVER that are happily making a living from their blogs; how and why is book blogging different from those subjects?

blogger burnout IS a thing. (i actually feel like i’m suffering from it right now.) if you’re a blogger, you know that we spend hours and hours and HOURS putting together this website, creating posts, interacting with others, taking pictures, brainstorming ideas, and more. it takes a lot out of a person, and what are we getting out of it? views? comments? sure that motivates for a while, but we burnout. i love blogging; it allows me to release my thoughts and meet others who relate to me. but when it starts to feel a bit like a chore? you’re stressed about not posting in a week? and you’re wonder why you’re doing something so exhausting – even though there are perks? yeah, it kinda sucks. it begins to feel like you’re wasting your time since book blogging isn’t something that you could rely on in the future. especially when you’re a teenager like me, i begin to feel like i should be doing something that could support me – something i could make a living out of. and it’s really depressing because i WANT to blog, but it’s not realistic and negativity grows from that seed. then i think: why CAN’T i make a living out of something i enjoy so much?

but apparently, there actually are ways to make money from blogging.

after my research (google!), i’ve realized there are four (main) ways to make money from your book blog. (but feel free to let me know if there are more ways!)

  • advertisements – you can put ads on your blog, which is actually the most common in book blogging. personally, this isn’t my favorite method because you’re leading people AWAY from your blog (aka source of income, if you want think of it like that) and for not THAT much.
  • affiliates – this is when a blogger (or internet person) is affiliated with a company (ex: amazon) and gets a percentage of commission every time someone purchases whatever you led the link to. it’s also fairly common in book blogging. i think this is alright, but not reliable since you’re also leading people away from your blog as well. i’m an affiliate with amazon and the book depository and probably got ~$20 in my year and a half of blogging. so, also not super reliable.
  • providing a service or product – this is where real things can happen! this category is open to LOTS of ideas. you could design blog themes, provide an e-course, create products… you get the idea.
  • sponsored posts – this, i think, is the most controversial of all the choices, but could also provide a good amount of money. it’s also not something reaaaaally reliable since it depends on the companies/people who sponsor you, as opposed to creating/providing something on your own like the previous choice.

so… what’s up with sponsored content?

there are many people who think getting paid for sponsored posts make the blogger/blog less genuine. that’s a reasonable assumption, but i personally think they’re fine. it’s up to you to trust the blogger that he/she is going to promote something they personally support. (i mean, even if you offer to pay me a million dollars to do a sponsored post for something i don’t believe in, i wouldn’t accept it.)

i also think they’re a more interesting way for companies to do advertisements. they trust bloggers or youtubers to use their product(s) to promote it in an entertaining way. instead of the usual “BUY THIS PRODUCT” we can be more creative with it. we basically do that already with feature posts, so what difference does it really make on the authenticity of the post if it were sponsored? i actually think the post would turn out even better because you’d generally want to do a better job once you know you’re getting paid for it.

in other blogging communities, i know companies will sometimes pay bloggers for reviews – additionally to providing the product. you might think that’s CRAZY – it’s okay; that was my first thought – but it actually makes sense because think of the amount of time it takes to put together a book review (+ the amount of time to read it). if you think about it, i’m spending 8+ hours on a singular post? and i’m not reeaaaally getting anything out of it? i mean, yes, you get the book but you HAVE to have the book in order to review it, so if companies are expecting a review it should be provided. (which is why i like review considerations so i won’t feel pressured to guarantee a review!) i don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but when i hear some bloggers talk about how they NEED to finish this ARC but they’re not in the mood for it, i’m just thinking… why? you’re stressing yourself out and being unhappy and probably going to write a poor review for…. what, exactly? i know the idea of this being in the book blogging community will probably take a loooooong time and people might disagree, but just a thought!

here’s a small reminder:

my desire to make money from blogging does not mean i’m “faking” my love for books and simply using it as a business outlet. it’s quite the opposite, really, because I LOVE BOOK BLOGGING SO MUCH that i actually want to do it forever and ever. having an income flow from it will make it possible. SO if you’ve been like me the past few months – wanting to make blogging a business, but not wanting to be called a “fake” or whatever – i want you to stop feeling guilty. i’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make your passion into something sustainable and tangible. (unless you’re doing something illegal, like selling ARCs; in that case, you really need to stop.)

what are your thoughts on book bloggers making money? let me know! (and it’s seriously okay if you disagree)

in defense of negative reviews

discussion

negative reviews always get bad rep. scratch that, negative ANYTHING always get bad rep. people (me) usually feel bad for posting negative reviews and sometimes would rather not post the review at all. in some blog tours, negative reviews aren’t even allowed. whenever i receive a book from the publisher but don’t end up liking it, i always try to erase the negative aspects. but let me tell you a (not so secretive) secret: i love reading negative reviews.

when i’m deciding whether or not i want to buy the book, i devour the negative reviews; when i finish a book i really enjoyed, i hunt down the one-star thoughts; and of course, when i finish a book i didn’t like, i go to the negative rant-y ones and cackle along. it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but it got me wondering…

why are negative reviews considered bad?

in all honesty, i like them better than positive ones. there would be times i read “negative” reviews and it’d make me want to read the book EVEN MORE. i guess it’s a bit like when people talk about this awful movie, and you end up watching it yourself to see exactly how bad it is. (confession: i actually considered reading FIFTY SHADES OF GREY but ultimately decided not to because erotica and i do not mix well.) (confession #2: i continuously visit QUEEN OF SHADOWS on goodreads to read the negative reviews even though that book is one of my favorites.) but let’s clear something up:

by negative, i mean critical reviews that point out why it didn’t work for them, not “I HATE THIS BOOK EVERYTHING SUCKS” reviews.

i mean, it sucks to be that person disliking the book, but reading about why people didn’t like a book makes me a bit happy. it reminds me that there will never be a “perfect” book – just like there will never be a “perfect” person. no matter how wonderful you think the writing, plot, and characters are, there will always be one person who just didn’t click with it. and that’s completely fine! i mean, you’re not going to love every single person you meet; why would you love every single book? your favorite person will probably have people who don’t like them, and that’s okay. that’s life, and that’s also books. it makes them genuine and beautifully flawed.

what do you think of negative reviews? let me know in the comments!

what are your thoughts on book subscription boxes?

discussion - book sub boxes

background photo via uppercasebox.com

i was scrolling through my twitter feed when i saw a conversation bubbling between sydeny (from a daring adventure) and jacquelyn (from ya bookmark) about book subscription boxes. i joined in, but after i’d realized how much i had to say, i thought it was best to write a seperate discussion post dedicated for the topic. 140 characters is NOT ENOUGH.

book subscription boxes have gotten a lot of hype these past few months – especially in YA. the concept is really cool: you pay some money every month and get a curated box of goodies with – best of all – a book! but there are pros and cons. if you’re interested in checking it out, some popoular ones include: uppercase, bookriot, owlcrate, and A TON more. (note: i am not affiliated with any of these companies. i’m just stating my honest opinions. i’ve yet to purchase a subscription box.) (BUT, uppercase is having a giveaway which i seriously think you should enter!)

the book you receive each month is different.

there’s a mysterious aura around what you’re going to get and that’s exciting! it may be an amazing book you never would’ve picked up yourself, and now at your doorstep. you could discover your new favorite author, and who wouldn’t want that? but, what if the book that arrives is one that you already own. or what if it’s in a genre you generally don’t read because you know you won’t like it? there are a bunch of things that could go wrong, but also a bunch of things that could go right. in short, subscribing for a monthly box of mystery is risky.

the book included is sometimes advertised as a “new release.”

the book that i get at my doorstep is fresh off the press? awesome! i know i love newly released books. (though my never-ending tbr pile wouldn’t be too happy ahaha) so the unknown book i’m going to get is newly released, but if it’s a book i’ve been DYING to read, i probably already pre-ordered. or gone to the bookstore the morning of so i can start right away. if i get the box a few weeks later and womp, it’s the book that i finished the day it was released that’s a bit… anti-climatic. i already have a copy of the book AND i finished it. it’s nice to have multiple copies of the same book, but my shelf will have no space if that happens every few months.

the book subscriptions also include bookish goodies!

bookmarks, necklaces, posters, all the things! i think this is what makes these boxes special. some include a handwritten note, socks, stickers, signed things… that is all fantastic and makes me really want to subscribe to one. i can’t find anything wrong with this. i LOVE bookish stuff, and really, who doesn’t?

the prices range from $20 to $50.

here’s the tricky part. you can buy a new hardcover book for maybe $10 to $18. paperbacks are cheaper, and bargain books are even cheaper. if you work in publishing or something related to books (like sydney does), you could probably get great discounts on newly released hardcovers. so… is it worth it to pay an extra $10 to $40 on the other perks? personally, i don’t know because i haven’t purchased any of these (yet?) but what do you think?

as a book blogger, i probably already know or have newly released and “hot” titles. the most i could get out of this would be small things like posters and a signed something. however, if you enjoy reading, but aren’t super enthusastic or up-to-date on what’s being released, i think these are great and completely worth their money. the books they generally send out are fantastic, but i already own it which is a bit problematic for me.

what are your thoughts on book subscription boxes? let me know in the comments!!