book blogger hop

Book Blogger Hop catch up

I’ve missed a couple of weeks’ worth of Book Blogger Hop prompts, so let’s play catch up!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Are there any books with themes or characters dealing with issues related to mental health that you have found to be enlightening or comforting

It might be a bit of a cliche answer, but I’ve found Matt Haig’s books to be both comforting and helpful, especially some of his mental health non-fiction. I read The Comfort Book and Notes on a Nervous Planet when I was really struggling with anxiety and agoraphobia, to the point where I couldn’t leave the house. There was just something so calming, so comforting and so relaxing about them that genuinely helped soothe my brain.

I recently read The Midnight Library – a book I’d been wanting to read for AGES but had been putting off because I got nervous I wouldn’t like it (I hadn’t been thrilled by one of Haig’s other fiction books I read). It was, however, utterly fantastic and I gave it 5 stars. The descriptions of Nora’s depression resonated so strongly with me.

Do you consider yourself a book collector or a book hoarder? Oh, definitely a collector. The collection looks a little hoard-like at the moment; there’s piles of books everywhere because I’m sorting them, cataloguing, reshelving and figuring out a) how many more bookshelves I need and b) where they’re going to go.

Summer often means more time for reading. Do you have a list of books you’re eager to start reading during June’s warm days? Do you have a summer reading goal? I’m not really a seasonal reader, but I did post my current summer TBR earlier this week.
I don’t think I have any specific summer reading goals, other than continuing to read most days and try to focus a little on some of my reading challenges that aren’t very far along.

Will society suffer in the future as a result of the younger generations’ lack of reading? OK so I don’t have any first hand knowledge of this, but based on what I’ve seen/heard, I’m going with yes. I also don’t think it’s the actual issue at hand, but rather a symptom of something much larger – although I can’t pin down what that actually is. Like, it would be super easy to blame social media for ‘rotting kids brains’ and ‘causing short attention spans’ but then you only have to look at the size of the bookish community on social media which is filled with readers of all ages – including, yes, the younger generations. I’m sure I’ve even seen stats that things like TikTok are inspiring teens/new adults to start reading and reading is trending upwards again

There’s a whole other rant about the way social media works and preys on people and oh I wish how it worked like it did 5, 10, years ago when it just showed me the people I’m following in chronological order – my social media experience is very carefully curated, I met pretty much my whole friends group through social media and lets not forget I met my fiancee on AO3 and Tumblr. But, as I said, that’s a whole other thing… it is connected tangentially in that it’s a symptom of the same larger issue that’s affecting society.

I don’t know if ‘suffer’ is necessarily what’s going to happen with society. Society is currently undergoing such a huge change through all levels and because we’re right in the middle of it, we can’t see the end of it and it’s scary and it’s easy to blame ‘the younger generations’. I’m a Millennial – we’re still getting blamed for everything after all!

I don’t know that I’ve actually answered the question – the answer is both yes and no and it’s complicated – but this is the post that it inspired!

life

The Llama came back

Hello internet!

Apologies for the disappearing over the last 6 weeks or so. It’s been a rough time. My mental health tanked a bit in the last couple of weeks of my old job and the place I was working showed their true colours with regards to how they viewed disabled employees and accessibility.

I started my new job just over a month ago and so far so good – the learning curve is very steep, they do AP very differently to anywhere I’ve worked before. The people all seem lovely and I’m starting to get my confidence back, so that’s a good thing.

The last couple of weeks though have been very hard on my mental health. The anniversary of my dad’s death, the date that would have been his birthday AND Mother’s Day all falling pretty close together.

And because that wasn’t enough (or possibly because I was so stressed) I managed to get sick on top of it. Fun times y’all

I’ve been taking the best care of myself that I can – not pushing myself too hard, resting as much as I can – and I think I’m starting to come out the other side. My overall mood is starting to improve and my mood swings are less frequent, although I’m still exhausted.

I think my main goal for April is going to be ‘find the new morning/evening routines’, get back into the blogging routine, and ramble at length about the books I’m enjoying again – because somehow I’ve already read 23 books this year, and am close to finishing about 8 more!

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

A Celebrity I’d Like to Meet

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge question is A Celebrity I’d Like to Meet and OMG y’all, even though I’ve been going to conventions for like 25 years, there are so fucking many. I think my first con was

The first ones that spring to mind are Claudia Black, Lexa Doig, Jason Momoa, Torri Higginson & Teryl Rothery.
You might notice a theme there grins I’ve met a lot of the principal cast members of SG-1 and SG:A but I’ve not been lucky enough to meet those yet.

And, y’know, I’ll never say no to meeting Richard Dean Anderson (This pic with RDA is one of my favourite con pics ever, along with the one where he’s nuzzling my kitty ears), Michael Shanks or Amanda Tapping again.
For reasons LOL

I would also love to meet… well pretty much anyone from Star Trek – especially TNG, DSC and SNW

Of course, I’m still not sure how I feel about conventions post-2020. They were already very stressful and very painful experiences, and they’ve gotten so expensive these days. And the idea of THAT MANY people in a relatively enclosed space is still a fucking terrifying thought – con crud was a thing in the before times, I don’t know how I feel about it now.

But oh I did I love them, and have so many amazing memories from going to them, y’know?

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Hobbies I Used To Enjoy

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge question is Hobbies I Used to Enjoy and uh… hi, my name’s Cassie and I have ADHD, allow me to introduce you to my hobby graveyard

So, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD), for anyone who doesn’t actually know what it is or how it presents, is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. And one of the major traits – especially in AFAB adults – is continually starting new tasks before finishing old ones. It’s a dopamine thing; the ADHD brain is constantly seeking the stimulation that will provide next hit of dopamine, and motivation is… difficult to sustain.

Although I would argue it’s not a deficit of attention – it’s the inability to control attention. If I’m doing something that’s giving the brain the happy juices, I can hyperfocus FOR hours – forget to move, eat, drink, anything.
On the other side of the coin, if it’s something that doesn’t give the dopamine, like idk paying bills, trying to corral the brain weasels is next to impossible – it’s not interesting, it’s not exciting, I can’t do it.

As a result, I’m always picking up new things, trying them, falling in love with them, buying all the things for it (we mentioned impulsivity, right?), making our entire personality about this thing, wanting to do it all the time, and then… discarding them when the next new shiny thing comes along to try. We call this a hyperfixation.

I fell into Duolingo hard. I was learning German, Italian and Welsh. I forked out for the paid account of Duolingo. I bought notebooks. I bought phrasebooks. I bought Richard Scarrey/Usbourne First Hundred Words books in the languages.
It lasted… maybe 6 weeks and all those books are languishing in my spare room.

Stardew Valley. I spent HOURS playing the game, I created multiple farms and multiple characters to play all the different variations of the story. I could literally – and I do mean literally sit for DAYS without doing anything else. Never intentionally, and there were times when I was sitting there thinking ‘Cassie, put the game down and go to sleep’, for example, but I couldn’t because there was SO MUCH HAPPY BRAIN JUICE.
That lasted… maybe 6 months.

Then the same thing happened with Animal Crossing. I played obsessively for 6 months, haven’t touched the game in nearly a year. And I found myself thinking the other week that I wanted to play again – but I don’t physically know how to pick it back up again.

Currently it’s Palia, and has been for 5 or so months. Like, we’re literally talking I UPGRADED MY LAPTOP TO PLAY THIS GAME. In a way, I’m really really glad I had it over the autumn when I was in so much pain with my hip because I don’t actually know how I’d have got through it. I’m still playing every single day and I have a fucking amazing spreadsheet tracking all the quests and stuff I’m doing in the game.

Then there’s the fear of the hyperfixation.

I’ve got one hell of a hyperfixation on Taylor Swift right now – I know I know – but was unsuccessful in the lottery and wasn’t able to buy tickets for the Eras tour. In August 2024. I still don’t know if I’m relieved about this or not because what if I’d spent £££s on tickets but by the time the gig rolled around, I’d lost interest?

Li and I went to Hobbycraft the other month and I picked up a whole bunch of kits of things I want to try – things that look fun. I spent probably £40-60 that day. It’s all sitting in the bag. Because what if I don’t like it? What if I DO like it? What if I try it and I’m no good at it.

And I’m terrified of the day that reading stops giving the dopamine hit.

So yeah. ADHD and abandoned hobbies. sigh I has them. All of them.

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Creative Halloween Costumes

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge question is The Most Creative Halloween Costume I’ve Worn and the short answer is ‘not applicable’

I’m sure I must have at some point, but there’s genuinely nothing that sticks in my mind about having ever actually donned a Halloween costume.

OK no – there was that Halloween Steve Carlson gig in London many years back now where I had one a fucking incredible corset and devil horns, and Natalie did my makeup and stuff. But it wasn’t exactly a ‘creative costume’.

(I did almost fall out of the corset at least once, and more than one friend buried their face in my boobs while I was wearing it. It was a fucking amazing corset LMAO)

I do recall Kane fucking loved it when I wore it at a con the following week. Natalie and I had a photo op with him, we both wore the corsets and he was all “I’m surrounded by boobs”.
I wonder where that photo is ponders

And I do nearly always have my kitty ears on at gigs and cons but again, not exactly creative, or a costume. Or Halloween specific.

I don’t… dressing up/wearing costumes feels uncomfortable for me. Don’t get me wrong – I love seeing other people’s amazing costumes, and one of my favourite things at conventions is seeing fantastic cosplay outfits. But it’s not a me thing to do.

I don’t like… I don’t like being seen, I don’t like standing out and being noticed. And the idea of wearing something that is designed for me to be noticed in is… not a nice one.

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. 

book blogger hop

Book Blogger Hop Catch-up

And next, we catch up on The Book Blogger Hop which 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.

Are books a must-have in your home? and ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY. I cannot imagine living without books. It’s pretty much the only reason I haven’t already moved in with Li, is because there’s no room in her flat for my books.

My bookshelves take up half the wall space in my living room, 5 of them. I have another one in my bedroom. And a good 3 or 4 piles of books that don’t fit on the shelves – I do keep meaning to get another two for my bedroom, I just never seem to quite get round to it!

I’d always intended on making my spare bedroom a library/study room but that never happened and since Li and I are planning on moving in together in the next 18ish months, I’m not really sure if it’s worth doing.

What apps/websites do you use to make your social media posts? My blog runs on WordPress, and it automatically crossposts to Twitter. I used to use Twitter a lot but all the changes lately are just about making it about as difficult to use as Facebook. What the hell is wrong with a ‘show me all the posts from all the people I follow – and nothing else – in chronological order? This is why I still use Dreamwidth because it can do that!

I have a instagram as well but I’m still trying to figure out how I want to use it, the types of posts I’m making etc. And again, there’s the frustrations of how the algorithim decides what it wants to show me.

As I’m writing this, I wonder if there are chrome add-ons that can do these for both Twitter and Instagram so that’s going on my list!

Do you spend your lunchtime reading? At home, I don’t actually. It would be far too easy for me to lose track of time, get sucked into the book and forget to actually go back to the working portion of the afternoon. And yes, that’s even with an alarm set because if I’m reading, I might not actually hear it.

When I’m at the office though, I generally do. I’m not as able to hyperfocus on reading because there’s constant movement of people, so I’m still more aware of my surroundings and can actually go back to the working bit of the afternoon

What is your go-to website to check out book reviews? Honestly, I pay very little attention to book reviews on places like Goodreads or Amazon. I pay a little bit of attention on storygraph to things like mood, pacing and characters but it pretty much boils down to not caring what people I don’t know thing of a book.

If a friend who knows what I enjoy, or a person in the book community who has similar tastes/approaches to me, recommends something then I care what they think. But generic book reviews on the interest are of absolutely no consequence to me.

weekly wednesday blogging challenge

Something I’m Proud Of Doing

This week’s Weekly Wednesday Blogging Challenge asks something I’m proud of doing and honestly I’ve got so much recently. 

For a little background, I have agoraphobia, GAD and various other anxiety issues. I leave the house as little as possible, and over the last 3 years, it’s been much worse. I have been in and out of therapy for 30 years, my most recent was last year and it was incredibly helpful. I’m also medicated for my depression and anxiety, although not my ADHD. Please don’t offer any medical advice. 

Just after Christmas, Li and I caught the train to Exeter. I have not been on a train in maybe 6 or 7 years. I got very panicky as the train was late and more people arrived at the station, I was terrified to start but the train was relatively empty and I started to relax.

Our first stop was into a Waterstones. Because of the sale, when I stepped in I got a bit panicky due to the sheer number of people at the entrance, but once we passed the sales tables and up to the first floor… OMG WOW. I was in book heaven y’all. We grabbed a drink and a cake from the cafe then set about exploring the shop. As you may recall, between this Waterstones (and the second one we found at the end of the day), around £200 on books and it was amazing!

The main reason we were in Exeter though was to have a meal at Yo!Sushi. We both love sushi and neither of us had been for far too long – although my Tesco now has a Yo! counter. I had pre-booked us a table and bought a gift card in the sales, so we had a budget of £100. The menu had changed slightly so a couple of my favourites weren’t available, which was a bit sadly and while I mostly stuck to things I knew I liked, I actually tried a few new things… and only didn’t eat one of them because it was a weird texture. 

We wandered around for a bit, had a quick look in Bird & Blend, CEX, and Game… then discovered the second Waterstones before catching the train home.

A couple of weeks later, we went back to Exeter to go to the museum – there was an exhibition on the history of medicine that we both wanted to see and was finishing in January. So back onto the train, into Exeter and this is where I’m super proud of myself. See, one of my Big Goals when starting therapy was that I wanted to go to a museum, because I love them but too many people, closed spaces, etc. We managed to walk around most of the museum, even though there was a school party of very wee ones in there as well. We had to skip one room because of them, and at one point I had to run away out of another because I was feeling closed in but other than that… I had a very happy nerd. And they had a mummy which was so cool!

We still had some money left on the Yo! voucher, so we had some more sushi for lunch. We went into Build-A-Bear because Li wanted her Yoshi to have more stuffing in it. We ended up back in Waterstones (don’t look at me like that!) where I bought… more books. Another £100 or so worth. Because books. Our last stop was Bird & Blend where we spoke to the mixologists, and talked about what I did like, they recommended a few things to try, and I bought a few sample packs. By this point, I was hurting, so we limped back to the train station in time to miss our train – sat in Costa with a hot chocolate and a cake before the train home

So yeah, super proud of myself for that and hoping to try and continue the momentum into 2023!

stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves #4

I am feeling so fucking proud of myself right now y’all. I did a whole bunch of HUGE things in the week. Admittedly, I’m still exhausted and hurting but like beaming with pride.

Wednesday, we drove back down to the retail park just outside of Exeter and went into Currys. Li had been stealing my Switch and she’d moved onto my island in Animal Crossing, but she really wanted her own Switch. Because I’m an amazing Llama, I said that as long as she can afford/transfer me the monthly payments, we’d get her one on my Curry’s credit account. We sensibly waited for the Boxing Day sale, and there was an amazing bundle with 3 games and a memory card but the check-out process was just Not Working. We spoke to various customer service people but couldn’t get it to work. So we toddled to an Actual Store. Fucking annoyingly, that bundle wasn’t on sale anymore, and it was back up to well over £400 which we couldn’t quite afford. But she did get a Switch, a memory card and Animal Crossing.

Thursday was the biggest day. So I’d pre-booked us a table at Yo! Sushi in Exeter for 2pm, and we’d decided we were going in on the train a few days ago because of the noise Eliot had been making. And we’d decided I was going to have a treat in Waterstones because I legit cannot remember the last time I went to an actual bookstore. Way before the pandemic. To say I had a bit of a shopping spree would be an understatement. I spent close to £200 on books. I bought SIXTEEN books – though one of them is a guided journal and one of them was a drawing book for Li. And without trying, I managed 7 fiction and 7 non-fiction!

My poor credit card is curled up in the corner crying. And I earned enough Waterstones points that I had £20 credit so I maaaaaay have just also ordered

I’d grabbed a Yo! Sushi gift card in their sale – it was 20% off and I’d already said to Li that there was no budget for sushi, we could eat as much as we want to. We both love the place, neither of us has been to one in like 5 or so years. I got a £100 gift card and… well let’s just say that we earned enough bonus points in that one trip that dessert was free! LMFAO We ate about £60 worth of sushi and I tried a whole bunch of new dishes – and only one of them I didn’t eat because it was a weird texture. We will definitely be going back again, and I want to go to the Exeter museum as well so I think we’re planning on pencilling that in before I head back home at the end of January.

And then, because that apparently wasn’t enough books or something, I’ve also been to the library and checked out:

Although, to be fair, these were all reserved before Christmas.

I’ve had a bloody brilliant week, even though I’m still hopped up on co-codamol and naproxen a couple of days later. But I have all the books to read, my reading journal for 2023 is set up, and I’m super excited!

sunday post

The Sunday Post: No spoons or fucks to be found

It has been a week y’all and I am completely done. I’m not planning on doing anything more strenuous today than walking between the kitchen and living room to get food/drinks etc.

So.

Monday at work I was dealing with the fallout of people not processing my Key Engineering Supplier invoices while I was doing Big Project Work. And it was one of those days where I processed… a LOT of invoices. One of the reasons I work slow and steady 90% of the time is that when the shit hits the fan like this, I have the oomph to post like 60 invoices in a day.

I also had a therapy appointment, we’re almost at the end of our sessions and we’re starting to work now on my Staying Well Plan. It’s not as scary as I thought it would to be coming to the end and not having Jeanett’s support which obviously is the entire POINT of therapy.

Tuesday I had a day off work because of a dentist appointment. I knew I had to have a filling and I knew I’d be no use to anyone after it was done. Except… it wasn’t just a filling. It was two fillings AND taking the first mould. I was not expecting that. I was very very glad the diazepam had kicked in before she took the mould because that was overwhelming and horrible. And my dentist was doing a new thing which REALLY helped. She’d be like ‘I need to do [XYZ] and it’s going to take me to the count of 10’, and then she would count out loud to 10. So there was this fixed end point to the current torture and then I could take a break. AND she lets me get up out of the chair and stim which is amazing!

Wednesday I continued plowing through invoices, but also had my introductory phonecall with my new tutor. She seems nice enough, specialises in Roman literature and we had a good chat about how she can support me with my ‘additional needs’, how best for her to communicate with me etc so that was really good.

And then yesterday I had my seasonal COVID booster jab. I was very very anxious about that. It’s at the local football ground and last year was… not good. The parking was very confusing, there was way too many people and I had a complete panic attack/meltdown which neither they or I knew how to handle.

This year I decided to walk – it was just over a mile – because that would ease the parking panic. Plus I sometimes find that walking, the repetitive motion of it, as long as my knees are behaving, is quite calming. So, headphones on and down the road I went. And there was no-one there. One person in front of me, two old people who were glaring at me behind me, and I was in and out in like 10 minutes.
I was actually really glad I walked in the end, I had so much adrenalin built up, and then it was almost anticlimatic so walking home again was a good use for that. Then I crashed, napped, and ordered myself a naughty KFC.

I get to do it all over again next week with my flu jab, so that’s going to be fun

Woke up this morning to the news that I won £89 on the Lottery last night. Treated myself to The Novel Companion which restocked in the week but I didn’t have the budget for. Very excited
I’d initially wanted next years Always Fully Booked planner but when I looked closer at the weekly planning pages, the layout wouldn’t work for the style of planning that’s currently working for me and it wasn’t worth getting just for the reading journal bits. So yes, I’m thrilled!

School also technically started again yesterday, but pretty much my only contribution to that was to tidy up my desk. It looks pretty awesome mind:


This week’s unit is mostly introductory work – information about the module, how the module is studied, links to the pronunciation guide and the study website. I’ve been chatting in the forums already and will probably spend a couple of hours on the intro stuff this afternoon.

Other than that, as long as I catch up on the dishes and read a chapter or so of A Brief History of Ancient Greece, then I’ll be happy.

Here’s to a better next week!