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The Sunshine Blogger Award

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I was nominated by my friend Rachel for this a while back, but I finally have a chance to do it!

Rachel’s Questions:

What’s the worst book you had to read for school? It’s a tie between Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and some short story collection by Ernest Hemingway whose title I can’t even remember because I did my best to wipe it from my mind. I understand the appeal of The Scarlet Letter and I get why it’s so important and significant, but something about it just came off so dull and dry to me. Then again, this was back in high school, so perhaps I would feel different if I read it now. Hemingway, however, I wouldn’t go near with a ten-foot pole. He’s awful. He wrote a whole short story about some dude going fishing! Why??

Within your own country, where would you most like to visit that you haven’t already been? California!!! I’ve been obsessed with California for a looooong time. While I don’t think I would like to live there anymore (too hot and sunny and there’s one too many wildfires and droughts for my liking), I definitely still love the California vibe and I think it’s a beautiful state. There’s just something about it that’s so compelling to me. One day I’m going to do a road trip along the coast of California, from San Diego to the Redwoods!

What’s the best first line of a book you’ve ever read? Ironically, the best first line I’ve ever seen belongs to a book I DNF’d, and that book is Mark Lawrence’s Red Sister. It begins like so: “It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.” That line is SO GOOD. I think I’m going to give Red Sister another chance sometime next year; perhaps I just wasn’t in the right mood for it? Everyone loves it so much and I keep hearing so many excellent things about the second book.

Runner-up to this question is The Heart’s Invisible Furies, which begins like so: “Long before we discovered that he had fathered two children by two different women, one in Drimoleague and one in Clonakilty, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore.” Hilarious.

Do you have any tattoos and do you want any? No and no. I have nothing against tattoos but I am SO indecisive and changeable that there is no way I could pick a design that I would love forever. Plus I hate the idea of having something on my skin f o r e v e r. I don’t like permanence.

If you watch booktube, who’s your favorite booktuber?  If you don’t watch booktube, what’s your favorite thing to watch on youtube? I used to not see the appeal of booktube at all, but now I’m obsessed with it! My favorite booktubers are: kat @ paperback dreams, madi @ the book pusher, jean @ jean bookishthoughts, emily @ possibly literate, and sam @ thoughts on tomes. I also watch lots of videos about curly hair care.

Which classic do you think more people should read? I’m not the best person to answer this question because I’ve only very recently started to read classics. I despised them in high school and I was of the opinion that they should be nixed from the curriculum. Now, I’m actively trying to read more classics, especially Gothic classics. So far I haven’t come across anything that’s felt life-changing, though.

What would you consider the most overhyped and the most underhyped book you’ve read in the last year? For the most overhyped book, it’s a tie between V.E. Schwab’s Vicious and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. Both were decent books (though the former is much better than the latter), but in my opinion way, way, way overhyped. Underhyped is a more difficult question to answer, because I’ve actually spent this year reading a lot of popular, hyped books…hmm…maybe If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio. It’s not obscure, but in my opinion it doesn’t have the fandom it deserves.

Would you like to work in the publishing industry, or do you prefer to keep books and reading strictly a hobby? I used to want to be an editor, but I don’t anymore. I like the idea of being on the periphery of the publishing industry as a book blogger and potentially an author one day, but I don’t think I would ever actually want to be in the industry as an editor/agent/publicist/etc. It feels like it would be a stressful industry to work in and the sort of place where you bring your work home a lot. Plus I think if reading became work, I wouldn’t love it as much anymore.

If you’re a writer, which author’s style do you think is most similar to your own?  If you’re not a writer, which author’s style do you connect with the most as a reader? I am a writer, and this is such a difficult question to answer! It’s gonna sound weird and arrogant, but oddly enough, it’s Victoria Schwab’s writing that I connect with most. Or at least, that I feel like I try to emulate, whether successfully or unsuccessfully. Could this be the reason why her books never wow me as much as they wow everyone else? I just feel like there’s something about her style – simple, yet solid, limited 3rd person POV with a vague air of omniscience – that reminds me of how I write, or how I try to write. Even when I’ve been rejected from things (short story venues) I’ve always been told my writing is clean and engaging, and I think that’s one of my better skills (plot………leaves a lot to be desired lmao).

What’s your least favorite book cover? I have two answers for this! First is the actual worst cover I’ve ever seen that belongs to a book I haven’t read, called A Mad, Wicked Folly. It literally looks like a badly photoshopped forum sig tag from 2008. My second answer is all of the new covers for Libba Bray’s Diviners series. I mean, going from this to this? Dear God, why??????

Who’s your favorite actor/celebrity? I’ve been obsessed with Nina Dobrev for like ten years, since I first started watching The Vampire Diaries. I think she’s a fantastic underrated actress and I also think she is so goddamn beautiful I can’t handle it. I also adore Natalie Dormer and Jasmine Cephas-Jones.

I’m going to nominate Inside My Library Mind, Lost Purple Quill, and Life of a Literary Nerd. I’m……lazy so I’m not gonna come up with my own questions but use the same questions Rachel asked me!

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The One Lovely Blog Award, Take #2

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Thanks for tagging me for this Rachel! This couldn’t have come at a better time. I was supposed to do today’s Top 5 Tuesday but I got super lazy. Then I came close to doing a Tumblr meme I swiped but it turned oddly personal so I decided not to. I guess I can share some facts from that meme, though!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog Award logo to your post.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass this on to as many people as you like (max 15).
  • Include this set of rules.
  • Inform your nominees.

7 Facts About Me

1) I live in New York City, and I would give my left pinky toe to leave (okay, maybe not any of my actual extremities, but you get the idea).  I hate that’s it’s so ridiculously expensive to rent closet-sized apartments, I hate the noise and the crowds, I hate that there’s no nature, and I hate how dirty it is all the time.  Just this morning as I was walking to work holding my breath, I thought, “God, what would it be like to walk outside without having to inhale the scent of piss!” Anyway, it’s nothing personal against NYC in particular (which definitely has a ton of upsides!), I’m just not a city person.

2) I don’t really have a “bucket list” but one thing I really want to do before I die is see the Northern Lights in person. A few years ago I charted a trip to Abisko, Sweden and even found a lodge I could stay in and everything.

3) My fashion sense is very casual/cozy/comfy while still trying to maintain some semblance of professionalism.  Basically, I dress like Clara Oswald, so lots of dresses over tights/leggings with boots/booties.  I even have a leather jacket.  But yeah, comfort is my top priority.  I haven’t worn jeans in nearly a year.

4) I really want to get an MFA (Masters in Creative Writing) at some point soon in my life. I’ve looked up various programs that are fully funded and I’ve got a good idea of where I would like to go.  I’m not sure when I’ll do this, but I’ll probably start looking towards the ~next step~ in my life as soon as I get my MLS (Masters in Library Science), which I’m working on at the moment.

5) As much as it pains me to admit it, I’m a terribly messy, unorganized person. I really want to be organized and every now and then I’ll make an effort to be less of a mess of a person, but inevitably it all comes crashing down around me.  I’m a bit flaky and absentminded to go along with it, so I’m always misplacing things and forgetting things. I really admire people who are super organized and color coordinate everything and whatnot, but I never seem to be able to achieve that #aesthetic.

6) I am not musically inclined at all.  I really wish I could sing, but according to everyone in my family I have a horrible singing voice and can’t carry a tune to save my life.  I took that “Tone Deaf Test” and I’m not actually tone-deaf at all, but I’ve never had any musical training and I know exactly zero about music.  I wish I could play an instrument but only in that abstract way where I don’t have to put any effort into it.  Singing, though, I wouldn’t mind putting effort to become better at; I really admire people who can sing.

7) I’m a really nostalgic and obsessive person and I have trouble letting go of things.  It could be a website or a fandom or a place or even a mood; I have a tendency to find a comfort zone and want to stay there forever. Needless to say, I struggle with change.

Tagging:

She Reads at Past Midnight
Paperback & Flick Chick
Perspective of a Writer

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

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The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions your nominator has given you.
  3. Nominate 11 other people and give them 11 new questions to answer.
  4. List the rules and display the award

My friend Rachel @ pace, amore, libri nominated me! Thanks, Rachel, this was fun!

What’s the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

I watched this random horror movie called The Void because I read some article that it was really good.  It…well, I don’t know how I would describe it.  It was weird in an unsatisfying sort of way.  Supposedly it was trying to tap into Lovecraftian cosmic horror but it also had many elements of a 50s B-horror film.  It was the type of movie that was trying to do too many things at once and ended up being kind of confusing.

Do you have any weird or random talents?

According to my brother my talent is making people want to puncture their eardrums when I sing…other than that, no, I don’t think so!

What’s your favorite song at the moment?

I’m currently obsessing over the entire soundtrack of Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812!

What time of day do you do most of your blogging?

I probably shouldn’t say this on a public platform, but normally during the day, because those are the hours I’m at work and I’m usually most focused (and have the most free time, oddly enough).

What’s your favorite museum that you’ve been to?

So, the MET is amazing, but I feel like that’s a cop-out answer, so I’m gonna go with the Chester Beatty museum in Dublin.  It features some dude’s private collection of old texts, including old Qurans and stuff.  It’s a tiny museum but it’s set up really nicely and is very peaceful.

When’s the last time you went to a wedding?

Oh man…uhh….let’s see…I have no idea, actually! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long. Oh, no, wait! I just remembered! It was two years ago; my best friend’s sister got married.  I don’t go to a lot of weddings, haha. I don’t know very many people and all my family lives in Egypt!

Do you have a celebrity doppelganger?

Okay, so my family all insists I look like Donia Samir Ghanem but I couldn’t disagree more!

If you were a cat, what color cat would you be? (Very important question.)

Either all black or all white or all orange! I’m a fan of single-color cats.

Do you have a favorite publisher or publisher imprint?

I’m fond of ABRAMS Amulet Books because they always have really great book designs, but their content hasn’t always appealed to me.  Content-wise I’m a huuuuuuge fan of Tor and Orbit.

Have you ever dressed up like a fictional character? (Bonus points for photo evidence.)

Nope! Always wanted to cosplay, though.

What’s your favorite thing about your city (or state, or country)?

I’m not a huge fan of New York City, but I appreciate its diversity and convenience.

I’ll tag…anyone who wants to do it I’M SORRY I’m terrible at this tagging thing.

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The Blogger Aesthetic Award

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I was tagged by my friend Rachel at pace, amore, libre for the Blogger Aesthetic Award!  Tag created by Liam at Hey Ashers!.

The Rules:

  • Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favorite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  • Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  • Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  • Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesomeness.”
  • Share these rules (and maybe the below tips, if you’re feeling helpful).
  • Tips:

 

Okay.  Before you scroll down further there is something you should know about me: I am very much all about about The Aesthetic™.  I am dedicated and obsessive when it comes to The Aesthetic™.  I have spent a very long time cultivating My Aesthetic™.

You may now proceed to the gigantic 24-image graphic below.

So, because I clearly have nothing better to do, allow me to explain the various aspects of My Aesthetic™:

First up, cats and books! Then we’ve got houses with bright open spaces and lovely views, giving off kind of a suburban feel.  Then Hamilton, which I have yet to see on Broadway but which has become one of my most beloved interests nonetheless.

Then autumn.  Autumn is the season of my heart, my soul.  I love everything about autumn; the wardrobe of coats, woolly socks, oversized sweaters, and boots, cinnamon-spiced everything, dreary skies, apple pies, curling up with hot chocolate, Halloween, falling leaves, pumpkins, candles, apple cider, apple orchards, pine cones…I’ll stop, but I think you get the point.  Autumn.  I love it.

Moving on to travel, which encompasses many things all at once.  Trains, which I am obsessed with.  It was always my dream to take a trip on the Orient Express, and I legit mourned when they discontinued it.  One of these days, though, I’m going to travel in a fancy train just like the one in that picture, and my view will be spectacular.

Then there’s my Americana Travel Aesthetic, consisting of wide-open roads, empty grocery stores at night, bright neon lights on semi-abandoned buildings, shitty motels, random highway diners, and other various trappings of weird American history and folklore.

From there you’ve got the ocean, cities on the ocean, homes on the ocean, walking along the ocean, road trips to the ocean.  Anything to do with the ocean, really.

And last but not least: my vaguely Arab/North African aesthetic, conveyed, of course, using a desert, a lady leading a camel, traditional North African courtyards, and figs (the fruit of my childhood when I couldn’t find mangoes).

This took me an obscenely long time, which does not surprise me at all.

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Mystery Blogger Award

Man, I’ve been MIA for a while now! I was visiting a friend for a few days, and when I got back home I realized that I was somehow already behind on schoolwork (grad school started without my knowledge).  Given all that, I haven’t had very much time to be on here or to read! But I don’t want to leave this blog without a post for much longer, plus I was tagged for this meme by two people – Rachel @ paceamorelibre and Steph @ Lost Purple Quill.  Which means I’m mixing up the questions!

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The Rules: 

  • Put the award logo/image in your post.
  • List all the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 10-20 people and notify them.
  •  Link back to the creator of the award.
  • Ask nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with a weird or funny question.
  • Share the link to your best/favourite post of yours.

3 things about myself

  1. I’m currently working full-time and enrolled in two Masters degrees simultaneously, because I am a ridiculous person. Well, actually, it’s because that just happens to be most convenient, in terms of finances and my Life Plan.
  2. I really want to get an MFA in Creative Writing at some point in my life. However, this would likely entail moving to the Midwest, where all the fully funded programs are, so it would just take a lot of planning and consideration.
  3. My favorite season used to be Winter, before I came to my senses and realized there’s really nothing that great about being freezing all the time (though I would always rather be freezing than hot, and I do love snow and Christmas!). My actual favorite season now is Fall.  It’s such an aesthetic-heavy season, with all the pumpkins, hot cocoa, cinnamon, sweaters, boots…plus Halloween!

Questions:

  1. What is your dream job?
    Novelist! Or something to that effect.  I’m really not a big fan of the heavily structured 9-5 routine, so pretty much anything that allows me to work creatively and/or from home would be the dream.
  2. If you had to live in another country for a year, where would you choose?Oh, United Kingdom, hands down. I was actually just thinking about this; I really want to live in Europe for a year, but not on the continent, in the UK.  In addition to the fact that I would be comfortable speaking English, the UK is very culturally familiar. I wish I were adventurous enough to live in a non-English speaking country by myself, but that’s something I would only do with a friend or significant other (what can I say, I’m quite susceptible to loneliness and homesickness). Plus, the UK is so, so, so gorgeous and cozy.
  3. What’s something you used to love, but have no interest in at all now?
    Anime. From the ages of 11-18 I was absolutely obsessed with anime.  I watched it all the time, I read manga, I bought action figures and various other paraphernalia. Now, though, I only very occasionally watch it, if I hear about a particularly good anime (Attack on Titan, for example), but for the most part anime has a particular breed of blatant misogyny that I just can’t stomach any longer.
  4. Describe your ideal breakfast in detail.
    This question is made for me! I love breakfast; it’s my favorite meal.  On weekends, my mother cooks full Egyptian breakfasts.  They consist of: ful, or fava beans, which are flavored with lemon, olive oil, salt, and cumin; taamiya, the Egyptian version of falafel, made of fava beans rather than chickpeas; and tomatoes with olive oil and feta cheese.  With this I usually like to have an ice coffee and warm pita bread!
  5. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
    Nope! My life would be much more exciting if I did, I’m sure. I’m fascinated by the idea of ghosts and hauntings, though! I’m one of those people who loves watching reenactments of a family being haunted or readings about various supernatural things people have experienced (and trying to figure out scientific reasons for them!). Funny story: my brother is convinced ghosts exist because when we were little, living in our little one-bedroom apartment, we both saw a chair move by itself and completely freaked out. I barely remember the incident, but my brother insists it happened and that it was a ghost.

Tagging

Because I’m lazy, I’m not going to tag anyone.  If you do this, though, be sure to link back here so I can read your answers! Oh, and also because I’m lazy, rather than make my own questions, you should just use the mishmash I’ve got here!