November Recap: Foreword of the new chapter in my life, Pokemon, and celebrating diversity

recap-november

November was a great month for me with ups and downs. I resigned from my job, I read more, I spent more time with my friends and family, I played a ton of Pokemon Sun, and I feel well inside and out.

The not-so-great thing was that I was terrible at blogging and I completely and utterly failed at NaNoWriMo. I only published one review this month! (What is this?) But, on the upside, I posted a new page dedicated to diversity. 🌈 But, more on that later!

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Books read in November (and my thoughts in three words)

1. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (kinda freaky?? intelligent)

2. American-Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (validating, abrupt ending)

3. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (vivid; missing something)

4. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (heartfelt, profound, raw)

5. Smut by Karina Halle (stupid, mindless fun)

6. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (eye-opening, emotional, heartbreaking)

7. The Secret to a Heart Note by Stacey Lee (beautiful smells, lovely)

Short stories:

8. The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu (broke my heart)

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Reviews and posts in November

1. FEATURE: Diversity Spotlight Thursday #1 – My first post for this amazing feature! I feature one of my all time favourite books, a book with an interracial relationship, and Adam Silvera’s new book (aka a must read)!

2. #NANOWRIMO: My First Week of NaNoWriMo – Ever – Ah yes, month-ago-me was so filled with optimism for NaNoWriMo. I share my story ideas, my goals, and my hopes with writing.

3. REVIEW: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – A hilarious satire that prods at oppression and capitalism, while celebrating female friendships, empowerment, and feminism. A must-read!

4. FEATURE: Diversity Spotlight Thursday #2 – My second post for Aimal’s weekly meme! I recommend three books with the theme: books with Asian characters or inspired by Asian mythology.

5. BOOK RECS: Fantastic Female Friendships – I love, love, love female friendships in books, especially if the girls empower and are there for each other no matter what. I recommend four books – all wonderful! – that have such wonderful friendships.

6. BLOG UPDATE: My Promise as a Diverse Book Blogger – Global events of November have compelled me to be more committed to diversity – now more than ever. I make several promises, and will hold myself to these promises and goals.

7. NANOWRIMO: My WIP, Why I Won, What I Learned, and Reflection – I may have failed NaNoWriMo, but I learned a lot of things along the way! I also share snippets of my WIP! ❤

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 Snapshots of my life

A foreword to the new chapter of my life 

If you’ve known me or have followed my blog for awhile, you may know that I applied to study in university last year. I didn’t get into the program that I applied for (only 11 people get in every year), and I was disappointed. The rejection compelled me to reflect on what I wanted in life – why I applied for that program, where it would take me career-wise and in life. I decided, last year, that I would not study, and would spend another year working while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do.

A month ago, I applied again – now more sure than ever of what I wanted. I now have a Conditional Offer to study postgrad Honours (or grad school as some of you may call it!), and I’ve accepted it! I finally feel like I can move on in a direction that I am happy and excited with. I won’t know what project is or who my supervisor will be until mid-December, but I have my fingers crossed that I get either my first or second choice.

Because I have decided to study, I have also resigned from my full-time job, which was a really difficult thing to do. I’ve had this job for two and a half years now – not long for seasoned workers but long for me – and even though my work drove me to the small, claustrophobic corners of my mind at times, I think I will miss it. After all, it was my life for those two and a bit years! (I’ll definitely miss the income.)

Between now and my last day (which was on Tuesday), I’ve agreed to work part-time to tide them through the holiday season from the goodness of my heart, but I’ll also do things to enjoy my freedom – paint, start a garden plot, explore, eat a ton of food, read, and write. I have a feeling it’ll be a good holiday.

So… I’m excited. My acceptance into postgraduate study and resigning from my job has filled me with a lot of optimism and hope. I haven’t felt this way in such a long time, and it’s so invigorating to finally, finally feel like my life can be on track. It’s such a great feeling (and I’m reveling in it before the pressure of a thesis and postgrad courses crush me into small, tiny pieces). 😂

Pokemon Sun, the most calming thing I’ve played in awhile

Pokemon Sun released on November 18th, and I’ve been playing the heckie out of it. Not only is it so much fun, but it’s so relaxing and calming too. It dispels all frustration and anxiety, and it just makes me feel calm. Everything about it (well, except for the ominous Pokemon entries) is so happy, positive, and fun. I’m enjoying it so much.

I was initially going to write a super, super long post about my thoughts on the game so far, BUT, I’ve decided to just share my current team! (I’m going to swap Growlithe out soon – I want a team of completely new Pokemon!)

pokemon_nov

From left to right: Primarina, Growlithe (grayed out because I’m going to replace him soon 😭), Alolan Raichu, Lurantis, Toucannon, and Salazzle.

If you’re playing Pokemon Sun/Moon, feel free to DM me on Twitter your 3DS friend code! Let’s be friends. ❤ And tell me about your Pokemon team! (Personally, I just love all Pokemon because they’re cute.)

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Blog Updates: Diversifying my blog!

Last week, I posted a post about how I want to do better as a diverse book blogger. Despite my discussion post that examined how ‘diverse’ is used to describe individuals, maybe calling ourselves diverse is a way of solidarity and claiming a word as an identity. So, I am okay with calling myself a ‘diverse book blogger’. In my post, I promised I would promote diversity more. Now, I have a plan and I’d like to share it with you all.

  • Continue my Diverse Spotlight Thursdays.
  • Keep my Diversity page updated.
  • Read more diverse books! I have 40+ book reviews currently backlogged, so the more recent books (which are mostly diverse books) may take a few months to make an appearance.
  • Talk more about books I love (and are diverse!)

divider This month I don’t have any posts to share from around the blogosphere (I’m sorry; I’ve been slack!), but I promise I’ll have a good list to share with you all! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for reading! 💕 I know I say this all the time, but you are all amazing and I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Can you also believe that there’s only one more month left of 2016… yikes. Where does time go?

So friends, tell me!

  • How was your November? Did you do anything exciting?
  • Did you discover any new amazing books? What was your favourite read of November?
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33 thoughts on “November Recap: Foreword of the new chapter in my life, Pokemon, and celebrating diversity

  1. I have so many thoughts on this post.
    First: CONGRATS ON GETTING INTO SCHOOL! Oh man– that must be an AMAZING feeling. I hope that everything continues to go your way as we barrel into 2017.
    I also completely agree with your three-word summaries for American-Born Chinese and The Girl From Everywhere. These always make me smile. I haven’t read any of the other books on your list, but I’m certain I agree with those too. :)
    Lastly, it makes me feel like not a complete slacker to know I’m not the only one with a backlog of reviews to write. According to Goodreads I have 21 books I finished which need reviews. Oops… O_o
    Take all the time you need for yourself. We will still be here when you can dig back into blogging. Promise. :)

    • Jackie! ❤

      Thank you so so much!! It definitely was an amazing feeling – relief above everything else. Thank you for the well wishes – I have a feeling 2017 will be a difficult year, but a rewarding one. I have a good, good feeling.

      Ah yay! I’m glad someone understands. I get concerned that people may find them terse, but hey! They get the idea across.

      AHHH good luck to the both of us! I spent ALL of last night planning blog posts right til August 2017… I don’t know how I’ll fare, but aim for the moon, land among the stars (or something like that??) 😂

      Aw, thank you. You’re so so kind, and thank you so much for your support; I appreciate it. ❤

  2. Honestly CW, you’re an inspiration to me. Following your gut and your dreams to grad school and making it happen for yourself is just so amazing and I’m in awe of you! I hope to have such ambition and determination myself. I’m also just really happy that you’re happy 😄
    I can’t wait to see what diverse books you’re gonna start to recommend because I’m pretty sure I’ll want to add all of them to my TBR. You have such great taste and I hope this new year brings lots of great things your way ❤️

    • Sara!! ❤

      Oh goodness. *feels loved* Thank you Sara, that means so much to me. It’s scary! I don’t even know if I’m making the right decision… but I hope I am.

      Heheh I’m excited to read them all! I can’t wait to share them with everyone once I’ve read them. ❤

      Aw, thank you! I hope 2017 will be amazing for you, and that you’ll discover and do amazing things for yourself. ❤

  3. Wow, congrats on getting into grad school! I know what it’s like to leave a job to pursue what you want in life and I understand your excitement wholeheartedly. I wish you the best of luck moving forward! And enjoy the holiday, nothing like chilling and grounding yourself a bit! (I think I need that in my life too tbh lol!)

    And oh man I also swore to read and blog more about diverse books, so yeah totally 100% behind you on this!

    November for me was hectic! I started my society6 and Redbubble shops and now I’m focusing on adding more stuff to them. Work’s been stressful too but I’ll survive! I did get to start Crooked Kingdom and I’m loving it so much! So that’s my book highlight of the month lol. :)

    Again, congratulations!

    • Hi Chiqui!

      Ah, thank you so much! It was such a relief to get in. I feel like I can somewhat relax now. Oh, I’m glad to know that someone knows what I’m going through! I take comfort in that. ❤

      Thanks! I’m enjoying it so far and it’s only day #3! It’s been very productive so far, so I can’t wait to see what else I can accomplish and do. (Yasssss, everyone needs a break sometimes!)

      OH wow, that would be very busy for you! Do you have a link to your shops? I’d love to visit and see your goooods. ❤

      Enjoy CK! I’ve got that sitting on my shelf but unfortunately the ARCS I need to read first have my full attention. Soon, though! ❤

      • Yeah it’s been a bit hectic trying to juggle everything and still have a social life LOL but I’m surviving! My society6 is https://society6.com/yalitreads and Redbubble is http://redbubble.com/people/yalitreads! Even just liking or having a look would be great thank you~ <3

        And thanks, CK's been AMAZING so far I can't even…! Aaah good luck with all your ARCS! You can do it, totally cheering you on! And hopefully you'll get to CK as well soon. :)

    • Thank you so much, Lydia! ❤
      Absolutely, and I know that you understand how I feel and what I went through. It’s a great feeling! I hope the good times just keep on rolling. :’)

      Thank you for the luck – I’ll need it! Wishing you the absolute best as well. ❤

  4. I am so happy for you CW!!! <3 You just go after what you want and that's what counts!!! I also love your diversity features, you are a real inspiration and I am so glad to see a space on the interwebs where it is spotlighted in such a great way. I myself am guilty of not reading that many diverse books, so knowing where I can go for recommendations is awesome <3
    My favourite book this month wasn't so much a new release, but I simply adored A Monster Calls! It was a quiet revelation that destroyed all my feels.

    • Thank you so much, Kat! ❤

      Yes, absolutely! I realized that eventually – I was torn between two options, one that I knew would be good for me financially and studying, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. And you only live once, you know? I’d rather do it and regret it than regret never trying.

      Aw, thank you so much for the kind words! I promise, once you start reading diversely, you’ll never look back! I started reading more diversely August onwards and it’s been so, so fun. I’ve read SO many good books lately, my GR av has defs increased from my 3.1! 😂

      OOOH I LOVED A Monster Calls! It’s one of my favourite books – it broke me in every single way. Are you going to see the movie when it comes out?

      • I COMPLETELY understand! People do tend to regret things they haven’t done a lot more than the ones they ended up doing and didn’t work out, so, GO FOR IT!
        I will definitely keep that in mind. Diversity in literature and media in general is such an important topic.
        And yep, definitely want to see it in the movie theatre. I don’t know when it will be released here, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t miss it. The effects will look much better on the big screen.

  5. I know I’ve already congratulated you, but grats again on changing your life and resigning :) here’s to new beginnings! Rooting for you.

    Did you find all those diverse reads you’ve been looking for?

    My Nov was, surprisingly, very sci-fi, even though I find out about #RRScifiMonth only at the end :) didn’t post as much as I would have wanted to, but it’s the first full month of my blog, I guess :)

    Over and out! I’ll visit again :)

    • Ahh thank you so much! I appreciate the congrats all the same. ❤
      I’ve found a good list of diverse reads that I’ll be reading over my summer holiday! I can’t wait to delve into them, and then share them with everyone on my blog!

      Oooh, did you find any new favourites from your sci-fi month that you can share? ❤

      • Wait, you’re Aussie, right? Cause I was thinking, summer holidays are quite a ways away… And then I thought better of it :D

        Yeahhhh, I had some great reads during scifi month! I think I’ve already shared A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet with you, and you know about that one anyway :) then there’s the whole series of Remembrance of Earth’s Past, starting with this one:
        https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20518872-the-three-body-problem?ac=1&from_search=true
        But I don’t know if it’s your kind of book. It might bore you, especially if your preferred style is YA. But it was just such a detailed, brilliant and well put together scifi marvel that I always share it with people :)

        • Haha no! I’m not Australian, I am a New Zealander. 😊

          Yes you did! I actually stopped by the bookshop today but they only have the sequel… they don’t have the first book! That’s on my tbr for 2017 though. It’s just a matter of getting my hands on it!

          I’ve read The Three Body Problem, but not the other ones! I don’t think the 2nd and 3rd book are on my priority list though; I like sci-fi, but the hard SF went over my head at times. I *would* like to read more Chinese SFF though! The perspectives are so fascinating and compelling!

          • Oh, sorry! I didn’t know you were from NZ :) either way! It’s on the same end of the globe at least, what with Christmas weather and all :D I hope I didn’t offend you :) as for the book, well, I guess it was so awesome it all sold out :D maybe a library has it? Oh, that’s so cool you’ve read the Three Body Problem! Respect meter goes over the chart ;D hehe. Yeah, but it’s a little hard to read, and if you prefer YA, it can be a tough tone to follow. I totally understand that. The second book was also translated by someone else, so it gets quite boring about the middle. However, it’s worth it to follow through for the story, cause the story itself is just AMAZING. It’s woven together so well. It still baffles me. But yeah, Chinese scifi is so very different! In a good way. Very classical too, it seems that Western scifi went a different way somewhere around the middle of the last century, while Chinese scifi kept the frontier.

            • Haha, no worries! I wasn’t offended at all. We’re on the same side of the globe but we’re as different as US is to Canada, i.e. very different.

              I followed Three Body Problem just fine – I meant that I don’t have any training or knowledge of quantum physics so when the characters went on about quantum physics, I couldn’t appreciate how it related to theory and practice, etc!

              Oooh that’s interesting! Well, if I ever pick it up, I’ll be sure to let you know my thoughts! Thanks for telling me that! ❤

              • Yeah, I can imagine that must’ve been hard to follow. I have graduated engineering myself and had a lot of interest in quantum physics, which I also studied to some extent that they allow you to in general physics studies, so that’s whe following it wasn’t as hard. You always have to keep it in mind though that when hard scifi authors talk about quantum stuff, over 50% (if not more!) of it is BA-LO-NEY. Basically just there to sound cool and far-fetched. If you’re a scifi writer, you NEED TO make up half your science, cause I think half the point of science fiction is that it’s FICTION. So the next time you read stuff like this, remember it’s still mostly not real and it’s supposed to go over your head :D if you had a degree in it, you’d probably realize the plot holes and it wouldn’t be so much fun :)

  6. Such a lovely post, and I am so happy to hear you’re feeling in a good place and like your life is on track. I’m still waiting for that to happen to be honest, haha :) I hope you’ll spend great times with your family and friends and enjoy being creative in your free time as well. So happy for you <3

    • Hi Marie!

      Thank you so, so much. I’m glad that I’m in a good place too – I feel like it has been a long time coming. I’m STILL trying to get used to waking up and not having to go to work during my holiday… but I’ll get comfie soon, hehe. ❤
      Thank you Marie, for your support as always!

  7. Doesn’t sound like you had too bad of a month! Oh well on the NaNo front – at least you gave it a go! Looks like you managed to get in quite a few good books this months. Congrats on getting into Honours!!!! That’s amazing <3

  8. Congrats so much on getting into Honours 🎉🎉!! Good luck with your studying, CW!! I really need to read The Girl from Everywhere! Everyone talking about Pokemon is making me want to play it so badly, but I don’t have a 3DS, haha. I was so obsessed with the old games back in the day.

    • Thank you Lauren!! 😊 Oh gosh, I feel like I need the luck. I’ve been out of the habit for 2.5 years!

      Oooh, I usually don’t encourage big spends, but, GIRL. Buying my 3DS was a big purchase that I don’t regret! The Pokemon games on there are amazing. Sun and Moon are one of my favourites in the whole franchise so far, if that means anything? ❤

  9. I’ve missed you so, so much, Chooi! T_T

    I am so proud of you to find the strength to resign. Saying no and leaving is hard, but hopefully this’ll lead on to better things as you mentioned. Plus, you’ll be super busy once the postgraduate studies begin, I’m sure. Speaking of your acceptance, CONGRATULATIONS, CHOOI. <3 :D I'm really glad the program recognized someone as wonderful and hardworking as you are. You so deserve this, and I know you will do really well! <3

    And pshhh, compared to me, your blogging game has been pretty strong-especially recently. Don't stress yourself too much about releasing content on here. We're just happy and thankful to get to hear from you. <3 :')

    • Aw Summer, thank you so so much. 😭

      Yes, it was so so hard. I was shaking SO much before resigning (I’ve never resigned from a full time job before…) but it was such a relief after.

      AHH THANK YOU!! I’m still so happy and I’m SCARED but also so excited. But oh gosh, thank you. I’m going to work super hard – I won’t let you down! 😊

      Aw you are amazing!! *bighugs* Thank you for everything Summer, and thank you for your continued and incredible support.

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