Wednesday, December 7, 2016

One Wonderful and Precious Life

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You have one life
You have one life now
You have always
Had
Just this one

What, oh what
Is it you
Plan to do
With yours?

Life is
Wild and wonderful
Precious and powerful

You have just one
One shot
One chance
One lovely day

Your plans are wild
They are precious
So is your life
Put them together

Your hands may be shaking
But your heart is beating
Your legs may tremble
But your mind is at work

Only one
Just one
One only
One just

Hold it near
Hold it dear
Use it wisely, not perfectly
Use it heartily, not hastily

For you have one
And one is enough

~Madeline

Monday, October 31, 2016

Make Time for Reading

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     And so we have reached our last day of getting to a better reading life. But really, we can improve our reading lives every single day.

     Read. You have time for it.

     Read. You have the books for it.

     Read. You will enjoy it.

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     I've equipped you in every way I can think to get deep into books. Fill your house with them, stick your nose in them, and share them with everyone you meet. :)

     This article made me smile; it's everything we've been talking about--how to get cozy with a book, make new habits, and read more. It's worth a read.

     Then go read a book. It's the only way you'll make time for reading.

     Carpe librum. Seize the book.

~Madeline

P.S. Thank you so much for joining me on this whirlwind challenge! I hope you stick around for some beautiful inspiration!

This post is part of my 31 Days to a Better Reading Life series.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How to Cope with Sad Books {with Gifs}

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     Maybe you know what it's like: a book keeps you spellbound, hanging on its every word, and the characters play with your heartstrings until you're crying over their deaths. I know. I've been there.

     "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but tv shows and books will crush your soul to a million pieces." (Which reminds me that this is all too true for tv shows too...I mean, you're reading the girl who cried in The Office [that finale, man!!!] and Once Upon a Time. :P )

     Today, we're examining all the ways books tear our hearts out and how we can cope with sad books.

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     Whew! I don't know if you've ever read The Maze Runner by James Dashner, but it is definitely one of those sad books. It even made my list of fictional characters that should not have died [spoilers], one of my most popular posts ever.

     Other books that made me cry:
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
     These kinds of books make you want to scream and hurl the book across the room (or, in the case above, give the book a time-out...which probably doesn't help a whole lot...)

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     When you experience emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback, it's disconcerting to look up and find everyone carrying on with their own lives.

     How do we mourn all alone? Don't worry, I'm getting to it.

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     I think you really do go through stages of grief, however speedily, when a fictional character dies.

     It makes you a more compassionate person. (I read it online, so it must be true.)


     But what about the times you're just ugly crying, and no one is around? What if you don't have friends who have read the book to call and rant with?


     There is no perfect solution, but privacy and thinking about all the good times you had with that book might help. (Oh, listen to me: I sound ridiculous!)

     If you feel like the book has betrayed you, try writing an alternative ending.

     If you're angry, write a note to a character or the author, then rip it into a million tiny pieces.

     If you're really wrecked by it, maybe try some lighter fiction next time.

     And stop taking it so seriously. It's just a book. ;)

     If you want to have a better reading life, you're just gonna have to learn to deal with sad books.

~Madeline

This post is part of my 31 Days to a Better Reading Life series.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why You Should Put Down Unenjoyable Books

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     If you want a better reading life, don't waste your time on boring books.

     Some books just won't be your cup of tea.

     Reading a book you don't enjoy takes more mental energy because you are pushing yourself through it. Instead, you should use that energy to read a book you want to read. Then you'll feel like you're flying through it in comparison.

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     Read books you love! Don't waste your time on books that just aren't for you. Get over them, and read one of the millions of books that you will love.

     The winner of The Broken Way is Bethany Jones. The winner of the study guide is Kim Brown. Congrats, ladies, and thank you to every one of you who showed interest! I hope you pick up a copy of this amazing book!

~Madeline

This post is part of my 31 Days to a Better Reading Life series.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Be Careful with Books

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     Even though we love beautiful books that swallow us heart and soul, they come with a word of warning.

     Be careful of books and what is inside them.

     Book are powerful, but not all are created equal. We want them to do us good not harm. Never forget that you have control over what you put into your mind.

     For words have the power to change us.

     Assuming we all want to be wiser, kinder, smarter, and all-around better people, we should seek out the books that will make us so. Good books don't just show up. They are carefully crafted by their authors and carefully sought out by their readers.

     There is so much to read in this world. Make sure you're reading words that change you for the better.

     Challenge for today: Read something that changes you for the better.

~Madeline

This post is part of my 31 Days to a Better Reading Life series.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Let Books Swallow You Up

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     If you're already a reading enthusiast, you might not find it hard to lose yourself in a book. You know the beautiful feeling of looking up from a book to find that you were absorbed in it for several hours.

     That's ok. In fact, that's the best.

     When we have time and space to allow a book to wrap us up in its pages, I think those are the stories that stick with us the most.

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     Not all books can swallow you up like this. Not all books have redeeming value or stunning descriptions. Not all books have flawless character development and attention-grabbing first lines.

     But some do.

     Some teach you. Some change your life. Some you love forever. Some make you cry.

     Some make you fall in love with reading all over again.

     Those are the ones that are worth returning to again and again. When you find them, you won't let them go.

     Challenge for today: Revisit an old favorite, a book that swallowed you up, heart and soul.

~Madeline

This post is part of my 31 Days to a Better Reading Life series.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How Much to Read

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     When you're deciding how much to read, it's good to have a bit of a format. Everyone's is different, just as everyone's favorite books are different.

     But whether you're artistic or detail-oriented, laid-back or strict, a words person or a numbers person, a big-goals person or a daily rituals person, the methods below will work.

     "How much to read" includes three basic things:

  1. A vague goal that inspires you
  2. A book count that grounds you
  3. A routine that guides you
     All three are important for managing your reading life. Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.


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     A vague goal that inspires // This means that your reading life has a direction. You want to read in a certain way for for a certain reason. I really shouldn't even call it a goal as it is more like inspiration. Maybe this inspiration is a person, a thought, a quote, a writer.

     Example: I want to read like super smart people are watching a film of my life.

     A book count that grounds you // This is more of a goal as it is solid and something to work towards. A number for the week, month, or year will set you on a good course. Set your goal, and stick to it.

     Example: I want to read 50 books in 2015 (check!), 60 books in 2016, 70 books in 2017, etc.

     A routine that guides you // To get to your book count by the end of your allotted time, you'll need some routines. Maybe you read first thing in the morning or last thing before bed. Maybe you read between classes or on your lunch break. Maybe you read a ton on the weekends or on vacation. Know what works for you, and try to make it a daily ritual. This can be however structured or unstructured you want it to be.

     Example: I read a calming, non-fiction book for thirty minutes in the morning, fiction in the afternoon, and anything I want to read in the evening.

     Challenge for today: Make up what you want these three to be for you, and you'll have decided how much you specifically want to read in this stage of your life.

~Madeline


This post is part of my 31 Days to a Better Reading Life series.