The Not a Booktube Newbie Tag

I can't believe I've been making Booktube videos for almost four years! Seriously, it feels like just yesterday that I was nervously stuttering out my first video (which is still live if you feel like you want to go back and relive the awkwardness that was me in college).

Check out Erika Chung's channel | Check out her video on Books for Lunar New Year


When Marnie was There [#YearofMiyazaki]

When Marnie was There
directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
written by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Keiko Niwa, and Masashi Ando
originally released in 2014 as Omoide no Mani


My #Diverseathon TBR

Yesterday was the first official day of the second round of the #Diverseathon and I can honestly say this has already been one of the most rewarding readathons I have participated in. I joined in on the Day 1 Twitter chat and it was a really amazing outpouring of interest in diverse authors, stories, and perspectives. After last week, this was exactly what I needed!

The #Diverseathon runs until Sunday, Jan 29th so feel free to join in if you haven't already! And if you're interested in participating in more of the discussions or want to keep up with the latest news, I'd highly suggest checking out the official #Diverseathon Twitter (@DiverseAThon).

Unaccustomed Earth / Jhumpa Lahiri
A Pale View of Hills / Kazuo Ishiguro
The Reluctant Fundamentalist / Mohsin Hamid
Born a Crime / Trevor Noah
The Underground Railroad / Colson Whitehead
The Essential Koran / Thomas Cleary


Top 5 Books of 2016

If you followed my reading at all in 2016, I'm sure none of these favorite reads comes as a big surprise. It was a year full of female authors, literary fiction, and fantastic translations! Just keep in mind that these are simply the best books I read in 2016 and not all of them were published in 2016.

The Vegetarian / Han Kang
> Read the review

Number9Dream / David Mitchell
> Watch the wrap up

Sarong Party Girls / Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
> Read the review

Do Not Say We Have Nothing / Madeleine Thien
> Read the review

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own / Kate Bolick
> Read the review


2017 Reading & Channel Goals

I finally pulled myself and filmed my 2017 reading goals and channel resolutions. Time to get on with the year!

Reading Goals
Read 50 books
Read my own damn books
Read from my Classics and Back to University TBR
Read more broadly genre-wise

Channel Goals
Continue film discussions
Just have fun making videos!


Vlogmas Days 19, 20, & 21

Well look at me, I'm finally getting back on top of things. Here are the last few days of Vlogmas that I never got around to posting here on the blog.

Day 19 - Hobonichi with Me

Materials Used:
2017 Hobonichi
Kuretake ZIG Clean Color II Markers
Hobonichi Ball Point Pen

Day 20 - 2017 Anticipated Releases

Books Mentioned:
Harmless Like You / Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Whereas / Layli Long Soldier
The Impossible Fairy Tale / Han Yujoo
Green Island / Shawna Yang Ryan
Beren and Luthien / J.R.R. Tolkien
Rooms of One's Own / Adrian Mourby
Uncomfortably, Happily / Yeon-Sik Hon

Day 21 - My Winter TBR

Books Mentioned:
Little Women / Louisa May Alcott
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall / Anne Brontë
The Buddha in the Attic / Julie Otsuka
The Casual Vacancy / J.K. Rowling
The Following Sea / Marcel Jolley
Under the Tuscan Sun / Frances Mayes
How To Be A Woman / Caitlin Moran
The Chronicles of Narnia / C.S. Lewis
The Silmarillion / J.R.R. Tolkien
The Ranger's Apprentice series / John Flannagan


On Burnout and New Beginnings | Happy 2017

Hello there. It's been a while.

If you were following my 2016 Vlogmas videos and wondered why I suddenly dropped off the face of the earth, my deepest apologies. It would be easy to blame the busy season or the fact that I didn't start prepping for the month far enough in advance, but in all honesty, I have no excuse.

To put it simply, I just hit creative burnout.

This is something I've experienced a few times before, once when I tried a month long drawing challenge and another time when I spent two straight weeks frenetically writing chapters of a manuscript I still haven't finished. Back then, it felt almost like physically hitting a wall, like these projects were a rock that I'd brought so close to the top of the hill, only to have them roll back and crush me down.

Both of these previous burnouts left me unable to pick up a pen or even look at my computer for weeks. I remember reading a lot, listening to a lot of music, and vegging out at night with bad police procedurals on tv.

This Vlogmas-induced creative burnout, however, was different. Maybe this was a natural reaction to twenty plus straight days staring at my own face and trying to wrangle some sort of coherence and meaning out of my ramblings, but I couldn't force myself to make another video if my life depeneded on it. I normally feel some resistance to editing what I've filmed; maybe I just don't have a strong enough narcissistic streak to enjoy hours of listening to my own voice. This time, I couldn't even compel myself to prefilm footage to edit at a later date.

But where I was expecting to feel listless and disheartened, I discovered a real, intense desire to create. It's honestly been years since I've felt such strong creative inspiration and I've tried to let myself flow with that feeling. I've had a rash of new ideas that have me excited about writing and storytelling again and, for the first time in years, I found myself compelled to take another crack at poetry. It's probably not very good poetry as I don't have the patience to sit and craft something intricate, subtle, or polished. But it is a genuine rush of expressive energy, equivalent to Whitman's untranslatable, barbaric yawp.

Who knows, maybe I'll share it with you all one day.

So have I given up on creating videos? No; in fact, later this morning I plan on filming for the first time since December. But I also plan on cutting back on video content if that means being able to explore more varied avenues of creative expression.

Now, this might read like an entirely self-indulgent post, an overly-dramatic way of saying "I failed at Vlogmas because I wasn't feeling inspired." Maybe it is. But it is also my way of closing the chapter on 2016. Last year brought out both the best and the worst in people and I think that in times of turbulence when hope is very much a small, flicking thing, it is easy to lose your way creatively. It is easy to question what the heck we do anything for when the world seems like such a fractured and unhealable place.

At times like this, I think it is entirely appropriate to step back, to stop doing what you think you should be doing and take the time to get right with yourself. Take the time to sort yourself out so that when you get back to working, creating, or leading you can do so with fullness of intention and passion of spirit. Because in the coming years, we're going to need everyone, and especially those creators who are capable of making great, moving, and discussion-inspiring work to be at the top of their games.

Happy 2017, everyone.