The Importance Of Timing In Reading

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, especially when it comes to books.

Sometimes, maybe even most of the time, I’m hesitant to read a popular novel. For a few main reasons.

I don’t want people to hype up a book for me only for it to disappoint because of high expectations.

I also feel odd when I’m in the minority. Either I love a book that people generally don’t like or I dislike a novel everyone seems to adore. In that case, I tend to feel like I’m missing something. As if I didn’t get the essence of the story.

It’s easy to look at reviews or seek out other readers’ opinions nowadays. Thanks Internet.

It’s also easy to form a bias before reading something because of what someone else says. That’s why I typically avoid reading book reviews before I begin. I don’t mind looking at reviews after I’ve finished a novel.

Often times I find others are able to say what I want to say more eloquently than I ever could. Or better yet, reviewers are able to specify an issue or ten they had with a book that I did too.

When I decide whether or not I want to buy a particular book, I don’t usually read reviews. I’ll read the synopsis or summary. Maybe the back cover or the first page.

I want to form my own opinion without the influence of anyone else, even if I trust him or her.

Going back to popular books, there are a number of reasons why I haven’t read Harry Potter. And some days I wonder if I ever will. The whole being let down is part of it. As well as the prospect I may not love this series as much as my friends.

I’m a huge believer that timing matters. When exactly you read a certain book can change your entire perception of it. I know there are books I appreciate better now than when I read them five, six years ago. Even five, six months make a huge difference.

Same goes for books I’ve read recently. I feel I would have enjoyed them more had I read some earlier in my life like in elementary or high school.

Regardless, reading really is remarkable. So don’t let anything or anyone stop you from enjoying a good book at any time in your life.

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The Need To Disconnect And Connect

I feel the need to disconnect all the time, especially in a world where thanks to the internet or social media more specifically, we’re increasingly connected to each other.

Some days I’m better at disconnecting than others. Finding that perfect balance presents a challenge.

Recently, I’ve noticed I’m not able to concentrate as long as I used to.

I remember the good old days where I finished books in one day as I would sit down and read for hours on end. I went without interruptions or distractions for long periods of time.

But now I’ll read for about an hour, feel the urge to check my phone, and ultimately, give in to the temptation. Then I’ll get carried away on Twitter or Instagram. Before I know it, I’ve spent half my day on social media. Hyperbolic statements are part of Herminia’s brand. So is referring to myself in third person.

I realize I may not disconnect as much as I used to, but I do my best. It’s important to step away from the screen. My sensitive eyes appreciate it.

Also, I’ve gotten used to carrying my phone with me everywhere I go. Some days I wonder how I’d survive if I left my mobile at home either accidentally or intentionally.

It’s not easy to disconnect, at least not if you’ve grown up so connected. But the difficulty makes disconnecting that much more rewarding.

If you’re wondering where all this is coming from, I’m currently taking three media classes. For fun, I read a chapter of a book, which discussed how social media has changed our ability to connect and concentrate.

So lately I’ve been thinking about my relationship to media and how it affects my happiness, productivity, etc.

As of right now, I’m ready to disconnect and go to bed. I’ll connect or reconnect with the world tomorrow.

A Q&A About Reading Habits

Lately, I’ve been wondering about my reading habits, which led to the creation of this post.

What’s your policy on finishing books?

I try to finish every book I start regardless of whether I love it or not. As a kid I abandoned stories more easily, but I’ve gotten better at sticking with something if I start. It helps that I pick up books I want to read now.

How often do you read?

Daily.

How much do you read?

As of right now, I strive to finish 50 pages every day.

When do you read?

Mornings because I prefer reading in natural light. Sometimes I’ll have one reading session in the morning and another in the afternoon. If I’m busy during the day, I settle for evenings or nights.

Do you read one book or multiple books at a time?

One book at a time. If I have to read more than one, that’s fine. I tend to do so when I’m in school. I’ll read a book for class and read something else for fun. Way back when, I used to read a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. But my nonfiction game has been nonexistent nowadays.

Is there anything you do before or after reading a book?

I wash my hands prior to and update my GoodReads status if I remember. Key word there is remember. Sometimes I forget because I’m old and getting older with each passing second.

Now I’m curious about other people’s reading habits.

Why I Love Baseball And Books

I don’t love many things. I could spend an entire day telling you everything I dislike or despise But I know this for a fact: I love baseball and books. Why, you may ask. I’ll attempt to explain as eloquently as I can.

I need variety, variation. I’m not someone who enjoys monotony or repetition.

Thankfully, no game is the same. No book exactly like another. Even after all these years, I still see plays and stories I’ve never seen before.

Variety goes hand in hand with discovery. I’m a fan of discovering new things. That’s why learning is one of my favourite activities. Books and baseball have been great teachers. I’m lucky to be a student of both. Sometimes the best life lessons aren’t the ones on the page or on the field either. You learn the most when you least expect to.

They allow me to disconnect. When I’m in the middle of a book or ball game, I want to be so immersed in the experience that I’m not thinking about checking my phone. I want to be in the moment. Besides, I can always connect to wifi after I finish reading or watching.

I enjoy cheering for someone. Sticking with a character or a player through thick and thin. Being in a person’s corner from beginning to end. Come what may, come hell or high water. In a way, they become your friends.

There’s something special in not knowing. You don’t know what will happen. Maybe your two favourite characters fall in love. Perhaps your team makes it to the post-season. I’ve come to embrace the strange, scary but also beautiful and lovely feeling of not knowing. After all, that book, that game might just be the best thing to ever happen to you.

Pick One: Book Characters

While writing my Pick One: Book Series blog post, I was inspired to pit fictional characters against each other. Enjoy!

Peeta or Gale? Hunger Games 

They’re both cool characters. Younger Herminia just thought Gale was cooler.

Edward or Jacob? Twilight 

Probably Jacob. I’m old, but I believe younger me was a bigger fan of the latter.

Dorian or Chaol? Throne of Glass

I liked Chaol’s character and his relationship with Celaena.

Rhysand or Tamlin? A Court of Thorns and Roses

Rhysand. He was more interesting to me even in the first book.

Darrow or Sevro? Red Rising

Darrow is amazing, but Sevro is somehow even more amazing. But I love them to pieces.

Minho or Newt? The Maze Runner

Minho in the books, Newt in the movies. So much got lost in the film adaptations. It’s such a shame.

Brenda or Theresa? The Maze Runner

Theresa in both the books and movies. She had greater depth to her character.

John or Robert Puller? John Puller

Robert. I’ve said this before, and I’m going to say it again: I love the older brother’s brain. I need a series that exclusively follows him everywhere.

Safiya or Iseult? The Witchlands

Iseult. She helped me remember the word, homeostasis, which I coincidentally learned in my biotechnology class. That’s enough to win me over. I have low expectations, okay.

Clary or Isabelle? The Mortal Instruments

Isabelle all the way. She’s one of the few characters I grew fonder of.

This was such a struggle to write. I hope you appreciate my suffering.

Different Ways To Organize Your Bookshelves

Lately, I’ve been moving my books around because I’m not entirely happy with the way they’re displayed on my shelves. But I don’t know how I want to rearrange them exactly, so I decided to write a blog post about different ways you can organize your bookshelves.

By alphabetical.

Do the author’s last name or first if you’re so inclined. You might even decide to go organize according to the titles of each book. It’s up to you.

By colour.

Ombré. Rainbow. The possibilities are endless.

By genre.

Have one shelf for fantasy, one for mystery, etc. This is a good way to see what you like or dislike.

By height.

Shelves look more uniform when books are the same size. This is a fact of life. My heart breaks when I buy a novel that doesn’t fit in with the others.

By love.

Have your favourite books on one shelf. You can play favourites with novels. That’s totally ethical.

By status.

What you’ve read, what you’re currently reading, what you want to read. I have a shelf for all the books I own but haven’t read yet. Without fail, I’ll read a few novels on my to-be-read shelf only to buy many more. I almost always enable my own addiction.

By story.

Is it a standalone? A series? Also consider grouping books by the same author together. Because why not?

By type.

Paperbacks here. Hardcovers there. Easy, fast, simple. You’re good to grab and go.

By however you want.

Obviously, you can organize your books any way you like. Feel free to use one or a combination of the methods listed above.

Let me know how you organize your books. I’d love to get some inspiration for my shelves. It doesn’t help that I’m starting to run out of space either. But that’s a problem I’ll tackle another day.

A Rant In Regards To Reading

This post may or may not be a rant depending on your definition, but it will be about reading.

I think it’s important to read what you want and to enjoy your reading experience. No, you might not love everything about a certain book, but try to find something you do like.

Even though I read as an escape from real life, reading for me is almost akin to living in a way. I get to live different lives through fictional characters.

Maybe I’m using reading as a metaphor or analogy for living. I’m not too sure. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an English major.

I just hope readers don’t feel pressured to read what they don’t want to just because everyone else is. Case in point: Herminia and Harry Potter.

I also do my best to finish what I start, especially if I chose to buy the book with the thought I’ll enjoy the story. Or at least, enjoy some aspect of the work. Sometimes, it’s the writing. Other times, I’m a fan of the plot or I’m fond of the characters.

Besides, reading what you enjoy will always win out over the alternative of not enjoying yourself.

Am I ranting or rambling? I’m not even sure at this point. Now that I’m older and wiser, I hope going forward, I will decide what’s best for my interests. Not allow others to decide for me.

So go ahead, read what you want. If you realize you aren’t enjoying the book, read something else.

It’s perfectly fine to pick up another novel if you aren’t enjoying the one you’re on right now.

Reading, like life, is about timing. Perhaps you don’t appreciate a certain book at this exact moment. But maybe in the future, you will.

That might mean you’ll grow out of books. Stories you loved in the past might not have the same effect on you years later. This is okay.

After all, readers should read what their heart desires.

Live your life. Read the books you want. Have fun. Enjoy yourself while reading.

You don’t get that time back.

Pick One: Book Series

I force myself to choose between book series to figure out which ones I love with my broken heart.

Hunger Games or Divergent?

Considering I read all three books of the former and I only read the first book for the latter, it’s no contest. The Hunger Games takes the cake. I’m not usually a big fan of love triangles, but Gale and Peeta didn’t annoy me. Maybe I also need to do a post where I pick between two characters. That’ll be fun.

Twilight or Thirst?

The latter. It’s not as well known, but I enjoyed reading Christopher Pike’s novels in high school. I finished all of the Twilight books in 22 days, something I don’t do very often nowadays. By something I mean I don’t read a whole series all at once in such a short span of time. I miss the good old days where I had no responsibilities.

Throne of Glass or A Court of Thorns and Roses?

The Throne of Glass novels will always have a special place in my heart because I started that series first. But also because I love the characters so much it’s not even funny.

The Maze Runner or The Mortality Doctrine?

I read all the books in the former and only The Eye of Minds for the latter. I even watched The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trial films alone because I have no friends.

Lorien Legacies or Legend?

Legend. I’ve been trying to pit similar series together or books written by the same author. This one is slightly questionable. I digress. I liked Legend. I didn’t like I Am Number Four.

The Ender Quintet or Red Rising?

There isn’t a series that can rival my love for Red Rising, despite my four star ratings on GoodReads. Take those with a grain of salt. I’m all over the place and have yet to get my act together. I’m not sure how I’m 20 years old.

Writing this post has made me realize how many series I haven’t read but need to. And that my memory is bad (re: I am 20, so old; did you get that memo?).

Let me know your picks down below!

20 Lessons I Learned As A Reader

I spent nearly all my life around books, so here are 20 lessons I’ve learned as an avid reader.

  1. Start.
  2. Try to finish.
  3. Timing is everything.
  4. Read what you want.
  5. Read when you want.
  6. Read how you want.
  7. Just read.
  8. Study what works.
  9. Never stop learning.
  10. Books are great teachers.
  11. Seek out other readers.
  12. Some stories won’t resonate with you.
  13. You can still take something away from a novel you didn’t like.
  14. Give books a chance.
  15. Step outside your comfort zone.
  16. Enjoy the act of reading.
  17. The right book at the right time can change your life.
  18. Leaders are readers.
  19. Make time to read.
  20. Happy reading is the best kind of reading.

What is something you’ve realized as a reader of books? I’d love to know down below.

Why I Love Reading Books

I think it's no surprise that I love books. More than a lot of things and many people in fact. But why exactly do I love papers with ink on them so much?

As a kid, I've always liked reading even before I realized I did. I buried my nose into all kinds of books.

Mainly because I enjoyed learning, and I still do. I'm all for gaining as much knowledge as I can. I especially want to know more about subjects that fascinate me.

Being able to escape from the real world was always welcome for me. Sometimes we just need to get away, be distracted for a little while.

At some point, I wanted to write my own books. As much as I love reading other people's stories, there's nothing quite like telling your own.

Of course, I love words. That's why I'm a writer. Reading books ignited my passion for writing stories.

In elementary school, I had a much smaller vocabulary. Younger me wasn't as confident with the English language as I am now, even more so when it came to writing in it.

I can still recall a memory of myself in class. I always asked this much smarter student how to spell certain words I didn't know at the time.

Interestingly enough, my first language isn't English. I grew up in a Cantonese speaking household. Back then, my parents didn't speak much English. So for several years during my childhood, I felt more comfortable with Cantonese, my mother tongue. After all, it was what I spoke at home.

Only after reading a bunch of English books did my communication skills improve. Over the course of my elementary schooling, I saw my grades in Reading, Writing, and Oral Communication increase little by little.

Nowadays, I still crave exposure to new ideas and beliefs. I may not agree with everything, but at the very least, I get a chance to see the perspectives of others. More importantly, I try to understand.

I owe writers and authors a lot. They keep inspiring me to speak, to share.

Frankly, I have little desire to spend my money on anything that is not a good book.