July Wrap Up

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July was a funky month of reading, and it’s entirely because I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara at the beginning of the month and it’s such an engrossing, heartbreaking book it’s impossible to get back to reading ~normal~ books afterward. It’s the highlight of my month. The highlight of my year. I also got a new job this month, so hopefully it won’t affect my blogging. I think I’ve been pretty consistent so far.

Gold_Star.svg.png This month’s favorite (can you guess)

THE NOT SO GOOD

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Proxy by Alex London ★★☆☆☆ 
About two boys, one wealthy and reckless, the other his “proxy,” who gets sentenced for his crimes. This book had so much potential, and I enjoyed the first half of it, but in the end I found it a clichéd and stereotypical dystopian. Full Review

THE GOOD

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia ★★★ 1/2
Overall I really enjoyed this book and found it extremely easy and fun to read, about a teen girl and her extremely popular online webcomic, but I wasn’t a fan of our main male lead. He spoiled the way this book ended for me…I was not feeling the romance in this one. Full Review

Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles ★★★☆☆ 
Technically I finished this August 1st, BUT since I read most of it in July it counts. It’s about a girl whose brother is injured in war, and it’s his dying wish is that she and his best friend, who she hates, go on a pilgrimage in Spain together. This book did a lot of exploration of philosophical and religious concepts, but ultimately I felt like it was trying to pack too much into one book, and in the end I wasn’t quite sure what the main character believed. It was an easy read, but rather meh. Review pending.

THE GREAT

Gold_Star.svg.png A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara ★★★★☆ 
The most excruciatingly painful book I’ve ever read and one of the best books I’ve read this year, and ever. I loved this book so much and even though I finished it three weeks ago my heart still hurts. I cried and cried and cried. I don’t think I’ll ever be over it. It’s devastating and amazing. Full Review

A List of Cages by Robin Roe ★★★★☆ 
Another good, painful read about two teenage boys with very different minds. This book hurt my heart and was so sweet. If you want a book about friendship (and pain), this is a great read. Full Review

Silence by Shūsaku Endō ★★★★☆ 
This book was heavy and definitely requires work to read. It’s about two Portuguese priests who travel to Japan in the 1600s to spread their mission, but are captured and tortured. If you have an interest in religion, specifically Christianity, this one is definitely worth a read. It was tough, but I loved what it explored. Full Review


Other Posts

Top 5 Tuesday

Longest books I’ve read
Female Leads
Male Leads

Tags and Awards

The Liebster Award
The Sunshine Blogger Award
The Greek Gods Book Tag
The Mystery Blogger Award


Personal Life Update

So as I said above, I got a new job this month. I haven’t said much here about it, but I want to share because a lot of you have become my friends, and I’m working very hard to beat my shame by exposing it rather than hiding it away, where it festers. So out into the light it comes!

So, for the past 9 months I’ve been out of a job. And to put it bluntly, it’s been the most severely demoralizing thing I’ve ever been through. My last job was temporary and I thought it’d be easy to get a new one, but it wasn’t. I applied to hundreds of jobs and had dozens and dozens of interviews, and got dozens and dozens and dozens of rejections. I have hated myself so intensely I wanted to crawl out of my own skin and into literally anyone else’s, because everyone else was more useful than I was. Shame was a poison in my blood. There were friends I didn’t talk to for months because I didn’t want to admit my situation. I wanted to be ruthless and merciless and push everyone out of my way for a job, because the main thing I was getting back from all my rejections? I’M TOO NICE. I’m sweet but don’t have enough raw ambition or steel backbone to get a job done even though I’ve been successful in the past. I’d never wanted so badly to be the very opposite of what I am, because at least then I might have what I want.

But of course that’s not the way to go. It was a tumultuous ride, but good things were happening, too. I learned a lot about myself, about the job industry, about people and how every hurt I felt just made me…never want to inflict anyone else with the sting of cold rejection, or with any pain, no matter how ruthless I wished I could be. And do you know what? The first week of my new job, it was my duty to send out rejection letters for job postings. You better believe I made those rejection emails more encouraging than an automated response. It’s amazing how quickly you can find yourself on the other side.

In many ways, I’m glad I went through the last nine months. Even though I pulled away from some people, there were so many more I got closer to. Finally, after someone emailed me a simple, “How’ve you been, Steph?” I cracked and spilled everything I’d been feeling to my church and they responded with so much love and encouragement it was literally like coming up for air after being under water for so very long. I told more friends, and more and more. I felt so worthless, but not a single one of them ever saw me as anything less. Just two days ago I confessed this all to a friend I hadn’t seen in 7 months and he just looked at me and said, “Steph…we’re still here, we’re still friends. We’ll always be friends.” It’s amazing how shame can convince you that those things aren’t true, how it makes us drive away the things we’re most scared of losing in the first place. It was still a struggle not to hide it, but hiding it less made it a thousand times more bearable when others were bearing it with me. And eventually, one of them got me the job I started this month. Grateful does not even cover it.

This blog was kind of an oasis, and to be honest I didn’t want it to be yet another place where people would ask “how’s the job search going?”, not that I’d really expect that when we’d all much rather talk about books than ~real life,~ but now that I’ve made it through this particular hurdle, I wanted to share. I still struggle with the shame and I struggle with self hate and self doubt while learning this new job, and in life always, but….I know I’ll get where I’m going, wherever that is. I know my worth isn’t the job I do or do not have. My heart’s been beat up but its come out stronger, I think. And nicer. Thanks, 1000 rejection letters.

This is also me saying that if you – whether we’ve talked a million times or have never exchanged a single interaction – need to share something with someone, I’m always open hears. Truly truly truly. I know how deep shame goes and how terrible it feels to carry it alone.

ANYWAY, now that we’re done with that, I’m looking forward to what August brings! It has been a very long time since I have looked forward to the future, let me tell you. Now that I’m a working woman again blogging is a bit tougher to find time for, but I don’t plan on going anywhere. This community has been an amazing source of goodness these last months, thanks to all of you. Honestly, you’re all so great, I’ve loved getting to know you guys. When I started this thing as a little weenie blogger with 0% blogging or book review skills I never expected it’d turn into this ❤


Currently Reading

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

I’ve had this book on my radar for a while and it seems I am finally in the mood for it! I’ll admit I do feel slightly intimidated by these books, particularly because I’ve heard the jargon of the world can be hard to acclimate to. Hopefully that doesn’t present too much of a hurdle. I’m literally 7 pages into this book so far so it’s a bit too soon to make any verdicts.

What do you plan to read this month??

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21 thoughts on “July Wrap Up

  1. Great post! I love your life updates… You are an amazing person. I love how you make your rejection letters more encouraging rather than just going through the motions.
    Wonderful read! Thank you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw thank you!! Positivity can be hard to muster up sometimes but it’s the only way to keep going! I knew I could either try hard and be miserable or try hard and be positive and in the end I’m very glad I chose the second option, even if it was difficult!! Thanks for commenting ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats, Steph! I’m so happy for you 😊 It’s so hard to feel bad about yourself, whether it’s over a job or something else, and you are a sensitive person like I am, which makes it so much harder to go through things like that. Thank you for sharing your story! It was incredibly uplifting and amazing. I wish only good things for you in your new job ❤❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!! When I was at my worst I just kept telling myself I had to at least keep trying, because even if I tried a little I’d get farther than I would if I didn’t try at all. And sometimes I’d think…what good are all these books I read if I haven’t learned to keep persevering like my favorite characters? 😉 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Books are great teachers ❤❤ I used to hide in them as a teenager to escape from things and they did have valuable lessons. I always tell my kids to try and even if they fail at least they know they gave it their best. You did great telling yourself not to give up..you are right that a going just a little further is better than going nowhere! ❤❤❤ You should feel really proud! 😊💕

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ahh thank you!! It can feel so horrible to fail but it is better than never having tried at all. And books are such a great escape, I don’t know what I’d do without them ❤ Thanks for the encouragement!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are so welcome! You’re so sweet that I’d hate to see you be discouraged or give up, and we all need the encouragement at times!! ❤ I have no idea where I’d be without books to escape into in the past and now!! 💕📚💕

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been wanting to read A List of Cages- and now I think I will! I’ve also had The Bone Season on my radar so I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Also CONGRATS on the job! That’s so great and you’ll be in my prayers this month that everything goes smoothly and goes up from here ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wholeheartedly recommend A List of Cages so I hope you enjoy it! I look forward to your thoughts when you get to it 🙂 And thank you so much!! That means a lot <3<3

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  4. great post steph! i am so happy for you, that you found that job! i hope you have a lot of fun!
    i understand how you felt. one of my best friends was searching for a job for about 2 years. and i was by her side. she couldn’t cope. all those rejections. she came to a point, where she was afraid to send out applications or go to an interview. it was very hard for her. i tried to be there but i slowly lost her and it was also hard for me. but we managed together and what i learned from that. do not back away from your friends. friends are always there for you and will help you. talk to them. you need friends in your life. i am so happy, everything worked out for you and i wish you the best times! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! so much!! But oh man, I can’t imagine how it must feel to be job searching for two years. Rejections definitely made me feel wary or scared to keep applying or interviewing, because sometimes it just didn’t feel worth all that effort for another rejection. And I know it can be hard to support someone feeling that way! I’m glad you learned from it, though, because that kind of hardship can definitely teach you a lot! I hope your friend is doing better now ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: TAG: What Makes Me Happy – Diary of a Bookfiend

  6. Congrats on your new job!!! I’m so happy things are looking up for you! As I’m sure you’ve been told a hundred times in recent months, there’s nothing shameful about being out of work, especially in this ridiculous economy. It’s so difficult to get a job when you don’t have a ton of experience, but everywhere that’s hiring requires x amount of years of experience etc… It’s such a vicious and demoralizing cycle and I’m sorry you had to struggle with that for so long. But oh man, I FEEL YOU on the ‘you’re too nice’ thing… I struggle with being forceful in a professional environment because that’s just not who I am, and it’s not even something I want to work on, because even if it would make me a better worker it wouldn’t make me a better person, and I hate that something that should be seen as a virtue is so often looked at like a weakness. Anyway, I’m glad things seem to be working out, but also, my inbox (on goodreads I guess because wordpress really needs a private messaging system) is always open if you need to talk!

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  7. I’m so sorry that you’ve had such a rough nine months personally, and congratulations on the new job! It’s rough out there to find employment these days, and although I’ve been lucky enough to be fairly steadily employed, until a year ago it was always one year maternity leave contracts. I did three of them before I wound up with a permanent full-time position in my field and it was really hard to not feel dejected and, as an introverted person, to go through the stress of job hunting every nine months and starting anew with a different position, in a different workplace, and with totally new people. I have a close friend who spent a year after graduation looking before gaining employment in their field and I know she found it really hard too to talk to friends and family about how the job search was going. Sometimes it does help to vent or to talk it out with someone so my inbox is always open, but I’m so glad that things are looking up for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much!! I definitely feel you on how difficult the job process is as an introvert, all the interviews and phone calls and emails would take so much out of me, and I always felt like I was going to be beat out by someone more outgoing and go-getter. Temporary jobs can be their own battle because you know you’re going to have to look again in just a few months! I hope your friend is doing much better now!!

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