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21 Life Lessons in 21 Years

It's my birthday!

I've never been too thrilled about getting older (i have two existential crises every year: one before my birthday, and one before new year), but it's something that happens and birthdays are actually pretty good. Mainly because I get presents. I realise that I'm a bit young to be making one of these kinds of lists because twenty-one isn't exactly a significant age in the UK, but I feel like I've done quite a lot of learning in my life, and I'm still learning and realising new things every day. So, I thought that for my birthday, I would collect twenty-one things that I've learnt in twenty-one years.

1. Not everybody is going to like you. That's just a fact of life that you have to deal with and brush off.

2. Loving yourself is not easy. Nobody just wakes up one day and realises that they love themselves. It's a long process and it's hard. Take your time with accepting yourself and being comfortable with who you are. Confidence doesn't just appear overnight.

3. It's perfectly fine to like things that are intended for people outside of your age group. I still watch cartoons and I like Sesame Street, and it's not hurting anybody at all.

4. Being nice to people you don't like is not two-faced. It's called being a decent human being.

5. Variety may be the spice of life, but it's perfectly fine to have a routine or stick to old favourites. Being adventurous isn't a trait that everybody has.

6. The friendzone doesn't exist. It really doesn't.

7. Happiness is not a choice. And to say that it is is actually quite insensitive. You can't force yourself to feel a certain way as if you are turning a light on or off. Emotions are much more complex than that.

8. Don't ever cut a glowstick in half with a pair of scissors. Trust me on this one, it's a bad idea. (i got glowstick fluid in my eyes one time when i was a dumb child. it stuck like hell.)

9. You shouldn't ever put up with somebody treating you badly or putting you down. Stand your ground, stand up for what you believe in, and don't ever let yourself be silenced by other people.

10. It's perfectly fine to like popular things. Hating on something just because it's popular it pretty shallow, in my opinion.

11. There will only be one of you, so it's pointless trying to be somebody else.

12. While crying when you're upset is perfectly healthy, not wearing your heart on your sleeve does not mean that you're a soulless monster. Different people deal with emotions in different ways. Some people cry at the drop of a hat, and some people don't.

13. Not everybody deserves your forgiveness. I never forgave any of my bullies for making school living hell for me, and I am completely unapologetic about it.

14. Listen to what your body is telling you. If your tooth hurts like hell, go see the dentist. If that face mask burns your skin, take it off and bin it.

15. There's no such thing as being "too young" or "too old" to do certain things. Unless it's physical things, like getting pregnant, or legal things, like drinking alcohol or being able to drive a car. Harmless things, though? Go for it!

16. You will use the things that you learnt at school at some point. We go to school for a reason, and while we may not be taught important things like how to pay taxes or deal with money, we are still taught vital life skill that we need to use throughout our life. So stay in school and do your homework.

17. Minding your own business is important. Wanting to know every single detail of something may be vital to you, but some people just don't want to share and you need to respect that.

18. "You look better this/that way" is not a compliment. And it will never be. You shouldn't force yourself to be uncomfortable all the time just to please other people.

19. Growing older doesn't mean that you have to grow up. You can continue to love the things you loved as a child because it doesn't harm anybody.

20. You can't like every single thing on the planet. It's just not possible. Don't force yourself to like something that you just can't bear.

21. Stress is normal. Too much stress is harmful, but too little stress can be bad too. You need to care about important things just that right amount.

What are some lessons you've learnt throughout your life? Also, what did you get my for my birthday? Just kidding!

What's on My Bookish Blacklist?

Sometimes when I'm browsing through Goodreads reviews, I notice that quite a lot of people have shelves that are usually named something along the lines of "will not read". I don't have one of these shelves, but I always found it interesting that there are books that people will simply not touch for one reason or another. Most of the time it's because of the way that an author has behaved (and there are quite a few authors that i've seen be blacklisted by bloggers), but for me there are other reasons. So, after looking through some GR users' blacklist shelves, I decided to create for one for myself.

I've grouped these four books together because they are so freaking long (with the exception of Paradise Lost, which I'm classifying as long for a poem). I understand word counts, I really do, every time I had a creative assignment to do, I went way over the required word count. Maybe it's just me, but I just don't understand how some writers can have so much to say in one single story. I just don't have the mental stamina to continue on with books this long. Les Miserables and Atlas Shrugged are among the longest novels ever written, but on top of that, Atlas Shrugged looks a bit too philosophical for me. I've read the Wikipedia page on Objectivism, which is Ayn Rand's personal philosophy, a million times and I still don't understand what it is. I've even read the simple English version, and I still don't get it. 

Not to be vulgar, but...

('You' being the book, not you reading this post)
I have an incredibly deep-seated hatred of James Joyce's work and I wouldn't have discovered it if I hadn't studied his work at university. For some reason, academics love Joyce and I just don't get it. Modernist fiction and especially stream of conscious narratives do absolutely nothing for me because it just looks like a jumbled mess. The only time I ever write like that is when I'm having a terrible mental day and feel the need to tell everybody on Tumblr about it. No punctuation, no stopping, no telling of where I'm going to go next. Obviously it's supposed to make you feel something when you read it, but all I feel is hopelessly confused and frustrated. Even some of his contemporaries didn't like his work, and that really says something.

This author here is the reason why the word "sadist" exists. And no, that's not an exaggeration, it's actually the truth. The Marquis de Sade's work is basically borderline pornography that's also violent and features criminals. His works actually got him arrested and put into mental hospitals, which is not something that happens very often these days. Not only do de Sade's books feature a crap ton of gratuitous sex, there's also sexual violence, sadomasochism, paedophilia, rape, weird fetishes, and murder. Lovely. One of his books was even made into a movie. How? I'm not entirely sure, but it's been banned in quite a lot of places. Also, the director was murdered before it was released, but I'm not sure if it was because of the movie.

I'd say go read the summary of this story to see why I'll never read it, but I don't think that's a good idea. Let me just say this: I'm a cisgender girl and even the thought of this made me squirm.

Rape and abuse disguised as terrible BDSM? Yeah, no thank you. My best friend tried to get me read this book, and after reading many articles and listening to a lot of opinions, and even reading up on BDSM myself, I slammed this book straight onto my no-go list. I'm not a fan of erotic fiction anyway, but when it involves what looks like abuse, I won't touch it.

Let me just preface this possibly controversial choice by saying that I am not religious in any way. But I'm also not an atheist. In fact I don't care about whether or not a god or gods exist because it wouldn't affect me in any way at all. What I do care about is people being respectful towards one another. To me, Dawkins' book is incredibly disrespectful towards religious people and to call beliving in something a "delusion" is abelist. I'm the child of a disabled mother, so abelism will never be okay to me. Ever. I have absolutely no problem with atheism, but if somebody's atheism involves telling people that they're stupid, everything they believe in is fake and meaningless, and that they're insane or "delusional" I'm definitely going to have an issue. Being an atheist does not make you smarter than other people or mean that you have a "healthy" mind, just the same as being religious does not make you more morally sound than other people.

I didn't mean for this post to get political or whatever, but I am pretty suspicious of Scientology. It's not something that I can get behind,  The fact that the basis for it is actually science ficton makes me even more skeptical. There's also the fact that I have a mental illness and have received psychiatric treament for it. There's actually a Church of Scientology centre where I live, and being constantly shot down in the street to take a free stress test really puts me off of reading any of Hubbard's fiction books, nevermind any of his books on Dianetics.

Do you have a book blacklist? Why would you blacklist a book?

5 Things to Know If You're Going to Study Literature

Last month I graduated from university with a BA in English and Creative Writing. Because of the way that the English department of my university works, I ended up doing a lot more than just creative writing. I did modules in primarily Literature, with a couple of language modules thrown in too (although that was language applied to literature, so it's technically both). I don't actually know very many people who are going on to study English Literature for a degree, and nobody has actually asked me for advice (lol), but since this is fresh in my mind and I want to help people out, I figured that I would make this post for those people are going on to or are hoping to persure a degree in Literature (i would make this for just english, but english as a subject is incredibly broad and it involves linguistics, which i haven't studied since a levels, so literature it is)

Some classes have horrendously long reading lists and your teachers will advise that you buy and read all of the main books that you're going to study. Not only is that a lot of money, it's incredibly time consuming, so you lose your reading time by doing more reading. What's worse than losing your reading time to books you don't particular want to read and probably wouldn't be interested in reading for leisure? Reading books that you hate simply because you have to. School/college/university is where most people discover their most hated author, and having to read their work is just torturous. If I didn't go to university, I wouldn't have discovered that I can't bear James Joyce's work. I didn't even finish the assigned book that we had to read, it was just awful. I still have all of the books that I bought for uni and most of them were DNF books because I just couldn't deal with them. I'm still trying to figure out how to sell them. Just remember that you don't have to like the books that you study, you just need to understand them.


Some teachers have incredibly detailed PowerPoint slideshows that they use as a base for the lecture and then talk around them so you end up writing notes at breakneck speed until your hand starts to cramp out from trying to get them down as fast as possible. Some teachers have PowerPoint slideshows that have very little on them because most of the lecture is in their notes that they're reading from so unless you're a really good listener and understand everything completely you won't get much written down. And then you have teachers who don't use PowerPoints at all and just stand and talk. With these kinds of teachers, I made hardly any notes at all and had to do a lot of searching and research on my own when writing the assignment for that class. (it's a good thing that i'd read the book we'd studied twice. and it's one of my favourites)


University libraries can be pretty scary at times (i've had a couple of breakdowns in mine and needed to be taken home) but that's where all of the books are. Ebooks are a nice and convenient but when you've got a 2000+ word essay to write, they can be a bit inconvenient because the page closes after so many minutes of inactivity. You can take out up to twenty books at once, but let me tell you this: that many books for one essay is going to murder your back. The Literature books are on the top floor of our library and I don't like to use lifts, so lugging two bags of books and my laptop, and my lunch was never a fun experience. And then there was lugging it back down the stairs again by the end of the day. Sure you'll build some muscle, but the pain isn't worth it imo, so you're better off staying at the library so that you can get as many resources you need without needing a moving van for them all. Besides, bookworms love libraries, right?

I wrote my final assignment on vampires so my entire life was nothing but vampires for my final year (on top of doing assignments for my other two classes, of course). When I wasn't doing other work, I was researching vampires, watching vampires, listening to things about vampires, creating my own vampires, dreaming about vampires, wanting to be a vampire, and, of course, writing about vampires. Obviously I'm not sure of how it works in universities outside of the UK, but here your dissertation is the most important piece of work that you'll write, so while it will occupy your mind a lot of the time, make sure that you don't procrastinate too much, and try your hardest to get the final grade that you want.

Studying for a degree is tough work but it really is worth it in the end. Through university you're able to make new friends, visit new places, learn new things, and just have a blast. Obviously university isn't for everyone and not everyone gets the chance to go, but I'll always encourage people to continue studying and working hard because it opens up so many opportunities for you. It's a long journey to take, but it's one that ultimately pays off in the end.

If you haven't studied literature in Higher Education, would you? If you have, what advice would you give to first year students?

The Muppet Book Tag [ORIGINAL]

Two things that I absolutely love are book tags and the Muppets. So, what better way to show my love for both of these things by combining the together to make a book tag about the Muppets? Yes? Yes. I've been a Muppet fan for pretty much as long as I can remember; I used to watch reruns of The Muppet Show on Nickelodeon of all channels with my brother before going to bed, so they're characters that have always stuck with me. Plus, I get really interested in the technical aspects of things, and the puppeteers themselves. Also, yes, I will be making Muppet GIFs some time soon. I just have to figure out how to do it >.< Anyways, on with the tag!

10 Books That I'd Buy in a Heartbeat If I Could Afford Them

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

As a recently graduated student without a job, I am horrendously broke. Even when I was an undergrad without a job, I was still horrendously broke. Basically, I hardly ever have any money because life is expensive. This is probably why I have so many unread books on my shelves: because I can't afford to buy any more (and no, i can barely even afford to take the bus to the library, because the closest one to me closed down, so now i have to take the bus into town *shakes fist at government for closing my library that was a two minute walk from my house*).  Whenever I get the chance (i.e. birthdays, Christmas, my parents being incredibly generous), I get any books that I can, and I pretty much want all of the books so making up a list like this was pretty difficult, so I've prioritised it by books that I've wanted to quite some time now.

The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe - I haven't read any of Poe's work, unless watching a Simpsons adaptation of The Raven counts, so I think I'm way overdue to read his work.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll - Alice in Wonderland was one of my favourite Disney movies when I was little, and I did enjoy the Tim Burton movie so, again, I'm way overdue to read the book. Also, the Penguin cloth-bound edition is just too gorgeous to not have.

Cress by Marissa Meyer - So far, I've only read Cinder and I have Scarlet waiting for me on my shelves, so it's only natural that I'd need to have the next book in the series. Obviously, I'll be needing Winter, too, even though the size of it makes me sweat nervously.

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon boxset by Naoko Takeuchi - I've been a Sailor Moon fan since I was little, so it's horrendously shocking that I still haven't read the manga! My reasons for this are: 1) I couldn't find any of the volumes in any bookshops near me 2) I kept forgetting that I need to read it >.< 3) One comic shop that is "near" me sells all of the volumes in one boxset, but I can't afford it :/ But, I'll hopefully get it one day! As long as they still have the boxset in stock, that is...

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers - I'm not a fan of zombies, but I have been wanting to read this book for quite a long time after it got rave reviews, so on the list it goes.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stievater - Pretty much everybody says to read this series, and while it wasn't something that I was interested in at first, but since everybody raves about it, and I give in to bookish peer pressure quite easily, I've definitely added this to my list of books that I need to get my mits on ASAP.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - Even though there was recently a bit of ~drama~ surrounding the number of books in this series, I do still want to read it. Once I've finally gotten around to reading Throne of Glass, that is.

Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite - Vampires. Duh.

Sever by Lauren DeStefano - This book came out years ago now, but that doesn't mean that I can't still be excited to read it. As I'd said above, I'm not so much in the loop about what books are coming out (actually, i never have been) so I'm perfectly content to get excited about discovering older books that I haven't read yet.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice - More vampires. Double duh.

What books do you desperately need to have on your shelves?