Books of 2016

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I wanted to make sure that this post was a good one. One of the best things about coming into a new year is that the books we’ve been waiting ages for are finally released. There are so many great books to choose from, so I did my best to keep it short!

Books I’m looking forward to in 2016:

  • Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
    • I read two of her other books and absolutely loved her retelling of stories that we’ve already heard. This new book is based the story of Romeo and Juliet, but with a twist that will create a new and exciting plot line.
    • Date: September 27, 2016
    • Read more: http://www.rosamundhodge.net/bright-smoke-cold-fire
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
    • This is the sequel to A Court of Thorns and Roses. One of the most exciting books that I read in 2015, I was devastated when I learned that I had to wait a year before I could find out what happened next. The world that Sarah Maas created is beautiful and dangerous. Warning: these books will consume your life as soon as you open the cover. I am anxiously awaiting the sequel.
    • Date: May 3, 2016
    • Read more: http://sarahjmaas.com
  • As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber
    • I recently found this series of books and I absolutely fell in love with Lady Darby. The series of books are called the Lady Darby Mysteries and the book coming out is the fifth book. They are set in 183o’s, making them lovely historical mysteries. The first book is set eighteen months after losing her husband. She is coming to grips with the abuse that she suffered from his hand and trying to figure out her place in the world now. Lady Darby is fiercely loyal to her family, not afraid to be different in a society that rejects the abnormal, extremely intelligent, and not afraid to speak her mind. This series has everything: a strong woman coming into her own, a love interest, and murder.
    • Date: July 5, 2016
    • Read more: http://www.annaleehuber.com/books.php

Until next time!

-GW

Let’s Talk Politics and Respect

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I’m going to take a moment to hit upon a subject that I’ve written about before. In a past blog post, I wrote about how people need to respect other people’s opinions on issues, even when they disagree. However, I am going to focus it a little more.

I’m going to talk about politics.

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I’m not sure if people are aware, but we are about to elect a new president. And it is a circus.

Now, I have some very strong feelings in regards to this current presidential race. There are some candidates that I really don’t want to see in office. However, I’m not going to express my political opinion in this blog post. I don’t want to influence anyone’s opinion by expressing who I am going to be voting for.

What I want to do instead is ask a favor.

I know that not everyone who reads this blog is of voting age, but I’d hope that the favor I’m asking for will follow you to when you can vote.

  1. The first thing that I am going to ask is to educate yourself before you vote.

    1. I was guilty of this, especially when I was in high school. When it came to the presidential candidates, I found that I was listening to what people were telling me and not actually doing any research on my own. Now, I love discussing politics with people. And I try to make sure that when I discuss it with people, that my information is accurate. To do this, I actually get off of social media and look up where candidates stand on the issues that matter to me.
  2. Understand that almost all media outlets are biased towards one side.

    1. I took a journalism class in high school, and after taking it, I became very aware of the bias in journalism. A lot of news outlets here in the United States lean towards the Democratic Party. There are a couple that leans towards the Republican Party. Now I’m not going to say which way is right nor not, but it is a huge issue. The bias in most media is horrific. So please be aware as you are reading news articles that discuss the election and the candidates that this bias is present.
  3. Just because someone doesn’t agree with you on who they are voting for doesn’t mean that they are wrong.

    1. This is getting close to what I was talking about in my previous blog post about respect. It is hard for someone like me, who gets super passionate about politics to remember that people don’t have to agree with me on everything. I have friends who have very different views than I do about who should win this election. What I would ask is that, instead of attacking or arguing with people who don’t agree with you in regards to this election, is to actually talk to them about why they feel the way that they feel. And even if they disagree with you, respect their right to disagree.
  4. Do not vote on one issue.

    1. This is something that I can’t stress enough. Everyone has issues that they are passionate about. That is totally okay. We are allowed to be interested in what we want to be interested in. However, being president is generally about more than one topic. They have to handle multiple issues. Decide what issues are most important to you. After picking the issues that are most important to you, please look at how candidates view all of the issues that you are interested in. Find the candidate that lines up the most with your issues.
  5. Finally, please remember that every vote matters.

    1. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve heard someone say that one person can’t make a difference. And maybe on a small scale, this is somewhat true. However, when a lot of people don’t believe that their vote really makes a difference, they don’t vote. What does that mean? It means that the elected presidential candidate doesn’t truly represent who United States citizens would have elected. So, vote. Encourage your friends to vote. Your one voice can make a difference.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this. I can’t promise to never talk about politics again because I think that it is very important. Especially this 2016 election.

Till next time,

-GW

Reflecting on 2015

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Happy New Year!

Reflecting on this past year, I’ve really found I’ve learned some very important lessons about myself and about life.

A lot has happened this year. A lot of tragedy that has really put things in perspective.

In life, everyone makes mistakes that change them. Sometimes in a minor way and often in a major way. These things can be good, though they are often not. As a writer, I often try to infuse my stories with subtle (though sometimes obvious) lessons. Most authors do. Mostly, they are lessons that we as people have faced and have overcome, though not always.

There has been a lot in my life that I have learned the hard way. I thought I’d share these with you. If you are anything like me, you probably won’t listen. And you will make these same mistakes. I’m not writing these as a cautionary tale (though heed the warning as you wish), but rather as a branch. For those who have made similar mistakes and just feel alone.

Not all of these are serious, but some are.

Put your phone away

phone

Our world is changing. Everyone has a cellphone in their hands. Now I have a wonderful love/hate relationship with my phone. Lotta love and a lot of hate. When I am with the people I care about, I try to set aside my phone. To a lot of people, being on your phone when you are supposed to be hanging out with them is rude and disrespectful. I feel that way. You can not keep your attention on the person you are speaking too if you are also texting or even reading this blog post. Show someone you respect them by putting the phone down when you are with them. You will be able to interact with them better and have an even better relationship.

The people who really love you are the ones who show up when it really counts

Hugging

To often, I think we make this mistake of allowing people into our lives that don’t necessarily deserve to be there. It’s okay to have friends. But invest time in the people who are going to show up for you. Invest in the people who remember your birthday. Invest in the people who cry with you through the hard times and stand strong with you when you need them. These are the people that love you and you should surround yourself with. Try not to put to much time into people that aren’t willing to put the same amount of effort into you.

Don’t assume people know how you feel about them.

I love you

Some times I forget to take the time to thank people or tell them that I love them. While my feelings might seem obvious to me, the person I love might not realize my affection. Take a moment, everyday, to tell the people in your heart that you love them. With everything that is going on in the world, tell the people that you love how you feel about them. Not just with words, but with your actions. Say thank you to the people that help you.

It is the little things that can change someone’s life

nice

This is something that I truly believe in. It’s something that we hear a lot, but I can’t help but want to emphasize it. Smile at people. Complement someone random on something awesome. We don’t know what others are going through. I can’t tell you how often I’ve been having a really terrible day and I get some random compliment that completely changes my mood.

Be nice to the people in customer service positions

Customer service

I feel the need to say this, because I have worked in retail. I have been on the receiving end of some really horrible attitudes. I have taken more than my fair share of verbal abuse by people who don’t know me but feel like everything wrong in their life is my fault. Especially this time of year, don’t yell at people who are only trying to do their jobs. I have worked eight hour shifts before and it is hard to stay upbeat and positive after having people yell at you for several hours. I’m not saying that you have to be nice even when people have been rude to you. I’m just asking that you remember that the cashier you are dealing with is a person who has feelings, and who has probably been working for many hours. Be kind.

 

These are just a couple of things that looking back on my year I’ve noticed. Let me know what you think about my reflections or let express some of your own reflections.

-GW

Writing Papers

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As told by a current college student

It’s that time of year again. That dreaded time when all of the deadlines for papers are quickly approaching. And there is a time honored tradition in writing these papers.

Pain

Procrastinate

When the assignment is assigned, the due date seems as far away as Frodo’s journey from The Shire to Mount Doom. So maybe you do a little here and a little there to make yourself feel better about binge watching your favorite show. But ultimately you know you have plenty of time.

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Denial

As the deadline starts creeping closer you refuse to admit that you need to make time to do the assignment.

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Sadness

You wonder what you ever did to deserve having to write this paper. You are going to college. Going to class. Why you? Why now?

Supernatural

But wait.. I need

At this point you know you need to start the paper but you can’t help yourself. You clean. Eat. Sleep. Do laundry. Exercise. Anything to avoid the paper.

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One more thing

Just one more episode of your favorite show.

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Acceptance

You finally accept that you must start your paper. You push away all of the distractions. Ignore the desire to runaway. You take accept your fate and begin the paper.

Supernatural 3

Oh crap

My favorite stage in writing the paper where I realize that I don’t have enough time to actually write my paper. You begin typing furiously, refusing to fail the assignment.

Typing

Crying

You are working as hard and fast as you can, but it doesn’t seem to be enough! You see the rubric and just break down because the report will never be over.

Crying

Editing

Once you cried out all your tears, you finally finished your first draft. Feeling slightly more confident, you begin to edit it.

editing

Finally…

Finally turning in the paper, a sense of calm washes over you. Your fate is no longer in your hands. It’s your professors hands now. You leave the room slightly numb but accepting that it is no longer your problem

Good bye

The promise.

At long last, you promise never to do this to yourself again. You make a New Years resolution to do all papers ahead of time. Never again, you promise yourself.

Promise

I hope you enjoyed reading this. Let me know your cycle of writing papers!

-GW

10 (Very Valid) Reasons Books Are Evil

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In honor of Halloween, I’ve put together a blog post about the most evil things I can imagine…books.

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  1. Books steal your sleep.
    • I start reading a book. The sun is out and shinning (but I am cuddled in bed, admiring the sunshine from inside the comfort of my own home). I keep reading as the sun dips lower and lower into the sky. The next thing I know it’s 12:30 at night. I consider, briefly, that I have a to get up early in the morning. I decide on one more chapter. Then another. By 1:30, I’m close enough to the end that I couldn’t possibly stop. Next thing I know, it’s 2:00 AM. Then of course, I spend at least 30 minutes going over the book in my head.
  2. Books make you forget to eat.
    • For reasons similar to those listed in #1. Time passes so quickly when you’re stuck in another world.
  3. Books make you cry your eyes out over fictional character’s deaths.
    • Self explanatory. Examples: Fred Weasley, Dobby, Primrose Everdeen, Augustus Waters, Rue, Professor Snape… (just to name a few).
  4. Books make you fall in love with fictional characters.
    • EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER EVER. Even the ones you hate, you love to hate them.
  5. Books are keeping you in a perpetual state of longing.
    • You long for the next book to finally arrive. Once you finally get all the books in the series, you long for the series to not be over. It is a never ending state of wanting something that you have to wait for or that will never come.
  6. Books tear your heart out and stomp all over it.
    • I refer to reasons 3, 4, & 5.
  7. Books rob your bank account.
    • I personally like physical books when I can get my hands on them. And those suckers are expensive! Especially when you are on a budget. And you go into the bookstore for one book. ONE BOOK. And you leave with five. Because…
  8. Books are sirens that call out to you from the bookshelves. Singing to you as you buy them and keeping you hooked as you read through every single letter on the pages until its done. And then it leaves you shipwrecked in an emotional crisis.
  9. Books hurt your back.
    • The best reading position is the most painful long term. Elbows propping up torso, book lying on bed in front of me. Back arched. Comfortable for a while. Ultimately painful. But it’s my favorite position to read in.
  10. Books always end.
    • This perpetuates the cycle of evilness–it ends, I long, I miss the characters, I go desperately to the bookstore to find a new love, I walk out broke with ten books, then I read them in uncomfortable positions, lose sleep, forget to eat, they tear my heart out, they end, and then I start over again. The cycle is vicious.

Here are my reasons for why books are evil. It is for these same reasons that I continue to read books. They are evil, but I love them.

Hope you enjoyed this article!

Please let me know if you have your own reasons for why books are evil. Or if you’d like to share a particular book that is especially evil!

-GW