top ten tuesday

Things Getting in the Way of Reading (and also blogging!)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want. Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.

I’m picking up a prompt from a couple of weeks ago, that seems quite timely since I’ve not blogged in like 6 weeks again. Things Getting in the Way of Reading (and also blogging!)

  1. University I am doing a part-time distance-learning Classical Studies degree, I have just finished my 4th module (out of 7 – I started with an access module or foundation year). I study about 25 hours a week and my final assignment of the year was submitted a couple of weeks ago. I am actually taking the next academic year off for mental health reasons/to avoid burnout

  2. Work They insist on taking up 40 hours of my time every single week, which honestly is incredibly rude of them. But then they do give me the money every month which lets me pay rent, buy food and acquire all the books so I suppose it’s a good transaction. Shame they don’t pay me to read books! 

  3. Video Games I have a couple of games I play daily on my phone – Bermuda Adventures, Star Trek: Timelines and some solitaire games – but also absolutely adore cozy games on my Switch. I love Animal Crossing, Cozy Grove, Harvest Moon, Spiritfarer, Stardew Valley, Story Of Seasons… it eats up a decent amount of time and there’s no complaints, to be honest! 

  4. Housework Admittedly, I’m not the best at keeping on top of keeping my flat in order. Between work, school and ADHD I blink and there’s suddenly a ridiculous amount of laundry and dishes to do and all my floors need vacuuming and ARGH! 

  5. Spending time with Li We’re in a long-distance relationship, I probably only see her for about 10 days every couple of months so when we are together, we like to do things together. Although, there is also a lot of parallel play taking place so there are definitely times when I’m reading! 

  6. Watching TV One of my biggest hobbies, other than reading, is watching TV. I watch a ridiculous amount of shows, will try the 1×01 of pretty much anything. And as a result, am never up-to-date on anything. Well, I used to be until the pandemic but then all my shows had COVID-19 storylines and my escape stopped being safe. Right now, I’m mostly watching old old old episodes of ER – I’m most of the way through S4

  7. Blogging I haven’t had as much time as I would like for blogging and for bookstagram, but I do throughly enjoy doing it. I love talking about books about as much as I enjoy reading them. My plan for over the summer is to pick it up more again.  

  8. Cooking I love to cook, and on an average week I will cook from scratch probably 5 nights. It’s mostly pasta and rice dishes, and I keep forgetting that I have a slow cooker so that’s something I want to remember to utilise more often. I have a lil pile of cookbooks, plus there’s the whole internet and I tend to steal recipes from HelloFresh! 

  9. Spoons I live with chronic pain, along with having anxiety and depression, so there are some days when I am fatigued, stressed, having a bad mental health day and don’t have the energy to do anything, even sitting and reading can be too much on days when I’ve used all my spoons on just getting through the day
    If you don’t know about the Spoon Theory, click here to learn more

  10. My TBR Honestly, there are days when the sheer number of books on my TBR, books that I want to read… even the number books that I’ve started and haven’t finished/still have in progress, just becomes overwhelming and I have a little panic. 

sunday post

Sunday Post #4

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted at the @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead

It has been a very busy – but very fun – week.

Wednesday, as I mentioned earlier, Li and I went to Exeter for the day. We went to the museum, Yo! Sushi, Waterstones, and Build-A-Bear.

Thursday I had my ADHD assessment – they said they had ‘no problems’ in diagnosing me and that some of my scores were ‘off the chart’.

I followed this up with a free taster massage at a place in town because my shoulder’s been aggravating me. It feels like there’s a huge knot and it’s resting on a nerve, making my fingers go tingly – definitely feels muscular. I went for the taster session because I’ve never had a massage before and I’m generally not a fan of people touching me, but I was in so much discomfort that I was willing to get it done. It was heavenly, I could move my neck and arm without things going crack, and I’ve already signed up for a full hours massage after payday.

Today is Li’s birthday, she’s streaming some Stardew this morning and we have a lazy afternoon planned.

I have posted catch-up posts on Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge and Book Blogger Hop so I am now up to date on both of those – and hoping to stay on top of them, at least for a couple of weeks. I even managed a Stacking The Shelves yesterday.

This coming week I am aiming to stay on top of the Top Ten Tuesday, Weekly Wednesday, WWW Wednesday, and Book Blogger Hop. I also want to post some drive-by book reviews – I’ve read 25 books this year and have written nothing about any of them. I don’t know if I’ll do all 25, or just the 5 I finished in April.

Depending on how time-consuming work and study are, I would also really like to write a post about my thoughts on ‘classics’.

I always cook more when I’m at Li’s and this week has been no exception! My meal plan runs Saturday through Thursday, so thinking back to last weekend:
Saturday – Sweet & sticky chicken noodles
Sunday – Honey & mustard sausage traybake
Monday – Cheesy tomato risotto
Tuesday – Mango chicken couscous

I really want to get my food blog back up and running again, so I can share recipes and ramble excitedly about food!

This week I have finished The Queen Of Nothing and Diddly Squat: A Year On The Farm.

I have also been reading From Memory to Written Record: England 1066 – 1307, The Hanging Tree, The Night Watch, and Skandar & The Unicorn Thief.

I’m about 85% through Skandar so should finish that this week and the next one is due out at the end of the month

I am now 87% of the way through my module which is a little bit terrifying! There are only 6 weeks left until my End of Module Assignment is due.

I’ve just finished a unit of work on Childhood in Ancient Rome which was actually really tough because there was a whole section on infanticide and exposing children.

Next week’s work is on mass entertainment in Roman life – gladiatorial shows, chariot races, and plays, and the social aspects of them: which social groups attended the shows, where they sat, and how they reacted to what they saw

My next assignment is due on the 27th of April and is 1300 words arguing either for or against the statement Ultimately it was wealth that determined social status in ancient Rome

Masterchef came back this week which makes me very happy. Star Trek: Picard continues to be fucking fantastic. It’s been a very disjointed week so there hasn’t been a whole lot of TV watched to be honest, other than a couple of Midsomer Murders while working.

Next week I’m hoping to catch up on a couple of shows – Carnival Row, Grace, School Spirits, Spencer Sisters, and A Town Called Malice. I’m 4 or 5 episodes behind on each so that shouldn’t take too long. There’s also the last Celebrity Bake Off and this week’s episodes of Race Across The World & Masterchef and the Picard finale!

book blogger hop

Book Blogger Hop Catchup

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the meme on February 15, 2013. Check out the hop here!

Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt featuring a book-related question. The hop’s purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to their own blogs.
And, a bit like the Weekly Wednesday yesterday, I’m going to play catch up on some of the questions that I’ve missed over the last couple of weeks

Do you use social media to keep up with your favourite authors? I do. I’m a little wary after the whole JK Rowling debacle but I do enjoy little slices of life moments – I love seeing where they write, little behind-the-scenes moments as well as the nitty-gritty book promo stuff. Also seeing things like what they enjoy reading is really interesting. It’s like… they already feel like part of my life because I love their books, so having just that little, curated, window into their life almost makes it feel reciprocal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not thinking we’re now BFFs and there’s a whole fascinating social psychology and sociology behind ‘celebs’ etc but yeah. 

Do you prefer to read in a quiet or noisy setting? Honestly, I can read pretty much anywhere. My absolute preference is curled up listening to my music but I can – and have – read anywhere from a library to a coffee shop, on a train, or at a rock concert (during the support).  I tend to completely zone out when I’m reading and generally don’t hear anything going on around me – including people talking to me, so the noise levels around me generally don’t bother me (ok – from an anxiety and autism perspective noise bothers me, but for not a reading setting, if that makes sense?)

What was your favourite genre to read as a child? Do you still read that genre, or do you read something else now? As a child I loved a bunch of Enid Blyton’s series: The Famous Five, The Five Find-Outers, and the Adventure Series – so mystery and adventure basically. Into my tweens and I fell hard for the Hardy Boys, so more mystery and adventure. And then in my teens, I discovered horror and sci-fi. And I definitely do still read (and love) mystery, adventure, horror and sci-fi though as I’m writing this, I’m realising it’s not as much as I would like to. I might have to poke my TBR and see what falls out in those genres. 

Do you enjoy reading romance novels? If so, which romance trope is your favourite? I do love me a good romance, although generally a rom-com/chick-lit type, not a Mills & Boon. They’re generally comfy and safe, and you know what’s going to happen and I can just enjoy the ride and see how it gets there. 
My favourite romance tropes? Fuck, where to start? OK, I absolutely love a fake relationship, and secret relationships/forbidden love give me the fuzzies. Forced proximity makes me weak at the knees – and so does ‘everyone else can see it’. I love a good Aliens Made Them Do It or a Sex Pollen, but those are generally more in fanfiction. And who doesn’t love a good meet-cute? Oh, and soul mates. And, again mostly found in fanfiction, but a damn good BDSM-verse turns me into a puddle of llama-goo. 
It would probably be easier to say I do NOT like love triangles… Hi, my name’s Cassie and I’m a sucker for a romance trope LMFAO

What is the significance of your blog header? As a queer person, I’m legally obliged to have at least one rainbow everywhere I look. And a rainbow bookshelf just felt like the perfect fit – at least to start with. It’s a little generic and feels less like it fits. I have ideas for a more ‘bibliollama’ vibe, but I have absolutely no ability to create graphics of any type so I’m saving up to hire someone through Fiverr or somewhere similar. 

Have you joined the library reading app, Libby? I have, and I absolutely love it. I enjoy exploring the curated collections, seeing what’s new and popular, and finding things I’d probably never read otherwise. I use it very much the same way I use the physical library. I’ve got the app on my phone and my tablet, and I’ve got 9 books checked out right now. 

Do you listen to audiobooks with earbuds or headphones? I don’t listen to audiobooks, I tune them out – it’s just someone talking at me and my mind wanders. I’ve even tried listening to Michael Shanks narrating Stargate audiobooks and it just… doesn’t work. 
The earbuds vs headphones thing though, I’m a headphones kind of llama. I don’t like things in my ears and I’ve got some new noise-cancelling headphones that are bloody fantastic. 

Do you post every day on your blog and/or social media?  I aim for 3-4 times a week but I haven’t been doing very well lately. Like I said yesterday, I’ve been very overwhelmed with everything and struggling to keep treading water. But I want to get back to blogging again, actually plan that time into my day to sit and write, and figure out exactly what I’m using my bibliollama Twitter and Instagram for – any suggestions on that front welcomed. 

life · site

‘Books and ADHD and bears, oh my!’ (Spoilers: may not contain actual bears)

So… it’s been a few weeks since I last posted again, and I wanted to talk a little about why that is and how my ADHD affects my reading.

The biggest thing over the last month has been a shiny new hyperfixation. Hyperfixation, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a trait of ADHD that means intense focus on a particular thing for an extended period of time. After wanting one for a couple of years, I finally bought myself a Nintendo Switch in the pre-Black Friday sales. And promptly fell down the rabbit hole of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It is wonderful and I am in love. I have many many issues with Tom Nook – the fucking crook. I signed up for a deserted island, and found that 2 people were moving there with me, along with Timmy, Tommy and Nook himself. Then Blathers – admittedly, he’s wonderful – and his museum moved in. I’ve got my house and done the first two upgrades, currently working on paying off getting a second room. And somehow… somehow I’ve been conned into building a shop for Timmy & Tommy and now… Now I’m building THREE HOMES for more people to move to the island?! I didn’t get a fucking furnished house – no, I got a tent.

Another way ADHD affects my reading is that – as you’ve probably noticed – I’m great at starting books. The finishing thing? Not so much. And once again, I hit the point where I had over 25 books in progress, all my library books were suddenly due back and I got really stressed out. Reading stopped being fun and I was really overwhelmed, and knowing that I wanted to be writing about the books I was reading made it feel like extra pressure to Do It Properly.
And when I feel like I have to do things properly, it makes it feel like I can’t start it because I don’t want to do it wrong and so there’s no point in doing it.
(Logically, I know there’s no way to ‘do’ my own blog ‘wrong’ – that’s just how the brain feels in these situations).

Added to that, I’ve started the second year of my degree and have been struggling a little bit. I’ve been finding it hard to get motivated to study, and had my confidence knocked by getting a low grade in my first assignment – caused by misunderstanding the question. Being a distance-learning degree, there’s a lot of reading, the more I struggle with this the more difficulty I have reading for pleasure because that voice in the back of my brain yells at me every time I pick up a book that isn’t for school that I should be studying.

I have started reading again in the last week or so, I picked 4 or 5 of the books I was reading and tried to focus on those and have actually nearly finished a couple of them. Woohoo.

But the combination of all of these things, I haven’t been able to figure out how to come back to blogging. And the longer it’s gone on, the harder it’s become to open up that new blog post window and start typing. It ended up becoming this big thing in my head that I didn’t know how to breach.

Obviously, writing this post, I DO want to come back and start blogging about books again. And that’s the thing. I want to blog about books and reading, rather than writing a ‘traditional’ book review blog. I love sharing my love for the books I’m reading and geeking out about them, and enthusing about books. I’m definitely learning I don’t enjoy writing ‘proper’ book reviews, but I do enjoy my paragraph long drive-by reviews. I love doing the weekly link-ups, they’re probably my favourite thing. I just need to figure out how I’m going to make this work for me – because I really do want to find my rhythm, because I really really enjoy being here.

monthly wrap up

April Wrap Up

April has been incredibly stressful, I’m not going to lie. My mental health hasn’t been great but I’m powering through and y’know, I’m still alive and kicking so there’s that. I’ve started therapy which is much more work than I thought it was going to be and we’re already working a few things out… but it’s exhausting.

I have been pretty consistent with reading – even if not blogging about it quite as regularly as I would like. I’m contemplating maybe pre-writing some of the weekly link-up answers, I don’t know. But I am pleased with myself for keeping going for four months and have bought myself a domain name as a reward. My betrothed is going to host me (and maybe design me a layout) and we’re hoping that should happen later this month.

But the books I finished in April were:

And I’m impressed seeing it laid out like that, I read more than I thought I had. Go me!

I DNFed:

I spent a great portion of the month reading but not finishing:

but I’m on track to finish reading in early May

Looking back at my April goals:
finish 4 books I finished 5, hurrah!
submit assignment 5 – due on the 7th, 800 words of plan for my independent investigation I submitted it on the 6th April and got 96% which, as you can imagine, I’m thrilled about
lose 6lb I did lose weight but not that much, just under 4lb – I comfort eat and I’ve been stressed. I’ve been pretty good at getting out and walking though… just need less chocolate!
sort out my morning routine. Hah! Nope, not at all. I’m still not sleeping great so I’m struggling to get out of bed – I eventually fall asleep around 3, so when the alarm goes off at 7, I hit snooze, sleep until just before 8:30, roll out of bed and start work. Although, frustratingly, I do know that sorting out my morning routine can help with the sleeping thing.

My goals for May
* Write, edit and submit my End Of Module Assignment – 2500 words on ‘How can the study of ancient places help us to better understand religion in ancient culture?’ I’m using Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi and Sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia as examples, and arguing that the lived experience of religion was the same across poleis.
* finish 4 books
* lose 4 lb
* start practising daily mindfulness and gratitude
* figure out using tiktok

How was your April and do you have any goals for May – bookish or otherwise?
monthly wrap up

March Wrap Up

I’m not going to lie – March hasn’t been the best reading month for me. Well, no, that’s not quite true. I’ve read most days but because I’m trying to read ALL THE THINGS, I haven’t done very well at actually finishing things.

But the books I did finish in March were:

I DNFed:

I spent a great portion of the month reading but not finishing:

but I’m on track to finish reading at some point in April.

I’ve already finished two books in April so… yeah, March wasn’t great LOL

I think I’m starting to find a rhythm with blogging. I’m definitely enjoying it and feel like I’m getting more confident with writing reviews.
I also love linkups like Top Ten Tuesday, Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge and Book Blogger Hop that allow me to also enthuse and flail about the books I love.
I want to figure out how (if?) I’m going to use instagram alongside the blog.
And I want to try and get over my fear of tiktok/my hatred of how I look and sound on video to join in with the bookish side of things over there – I watch and enjoy so many booktokers and it looks so much fun!

Healthwise, I’m still struggling with my mental health (depression, anxiety, agoraphobia) but have received a date to start ‘intensive CBT’ later in April. I’m still waiting for a date for my adhd/autism assessment but have been told if I don’t hear from them by the end of April, to give them a call. I’ve been managing to get out for walks with my betrothed 3-4 a week (thank the Gods for Pikmin Bloom), I’ve been cooking and eating well at least 5 nights a week and I’ve lost 5.6lb in weight

Schoolwise, I had a creative writing assignment – short story of 900 words based on a provided first line from an existing book and a 300 word reflective piece. Absolutely thrilled that I got 98% on it and my tutors comments were absolutely fantastic!

My goals for April:
* finish 4 books
* submit assignment 5 – due on the 7th, 800 words of plan for my independent investigation
* lose 6lb
* sort out my morning routine.

How was your March and do you have any goals for April – bookish or otherwise?