I’m taking a short break from college-blogging. For June the content of this blog will be solely book-related. I have exams until the 24th (and that is taking into consideration any possible supplementary exams) so I will be busy focusing on that. I will also be busy attending the Durban International Film Festival (more on that in another blog post).
In the meanwhile, I’ve searched far and wide to find the best books and I’m sharing them here.
Happy Twilight (and other books) Month!
I’m sitting in the library right now and I’m freezing. Unfortunately the air-conditioning isn’t even on. Yes, winter is coming and it can even be felt in Durban (which is normally pretty hot). Here are a few things you’d need to help you get through winter:
1) Hot-water bottle- Heating a hot water bottle is a quick and easy way to get warm. For kids, you can get one of those stuffed toys with the hot-water bottle or sandbags inside. It’s such a treat to be warm and toasty in your bed while the rain falls outside.
2) Winter clothes- I strongly believe that you should always go out with layers of clothing especially when it’s winter. This allows you to be warm when you’re cold and you can simply shed a few items when you’re feeling hot.
3) Socks- my dad once told me that “you can’t be warm unless your feet are warm”. I don’t know what the science behind that is but it’s true.
4) Pack an umbrella- an umbrella is nice to have unless you live in one of those areas with a really strong wind.
5) Cold and flu medication- Pretty much everyone I know and their grandmother has already gotten sick from the cold. Stock up on cold and flu medication- especially med-lemon to help protect against cold and flu.
What are your tips for surviving winter?
I promised myself as a kid that I would publish a book before I turned 21. I’m now just over a month away from 21 but I don’t even have a synopsis or outline written. This reminded me that I’ve been rejected thrice by publishers. The first two times were by a local publisher who didn’t publish teen fantasy. The third time was a digital publisher who didn’t really like the story. However those three rejections taught me ALOT:
1) Not everyone is going to like you or your work- This was such an important lesson for me. The story I submitted the third time was a story incredibly close to my heart. It was described as not being “compelling enough”. Now while that may be true, I liked that story. That story was my baby and nothing would change that.
2) Always give in your best work- Admittedly, I never did much editing on those stories. I’ve never gotten the importance of editing until three rejections in because now I know that yes I can make my characters and story more compelling. (Just not while college is still on). Whatever it is that you do make sure that you know that you’re giving your 101%.
3) All you need is one yes so keep trying- Whether it’s a job or your driving license, lots of things in life simply require a yes from one person. You may get rejected once or a hundred times but it is the one yes that will change your life.
4) Never let failure get you down- I was fourteen when I got my first rejection letter. Looking back I wonder why I was so stupid to send in my manuscript but I’m also pretty impressed at how brave I was. Yes, I know now it was not my best work but maybe it was my best work at the time? After being rejected for my first novel, I went on to intern at my favourite magazine just over two months later before having an article published in that magazine. Yay me! Never ever let rejection get you down because you have no idea what life may hold in store for you.
What lessons did you learn from being rejected? I’d love to know below.
I’m feeling kinda book-stalgic (see what I did there?) so I thought I’d share some of my first bookish moments.
1) First trip to the library: My first library trip was when my family and I lived in the city (which- I’m sure I don’t need to say- was pretty dangerous). My mother and I would make regular trips and since I was only three years old, she would read books to me. I don’t think I remember ever borrowing the books to bring them home though I may be wrong.
2) First book without pictures: I don’t remember the title but it was a Mary-Kate and Ashley book. I was obsessed with them.
3) First adult novel: I was about eight years old. In my defense it was a romance book about adults and there was nothing that happened. (It was a really old novel so I’m assuming that’s the reason why. The characters never even kissed- and they were married).
4) First book I bought with my own money: Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. I saved for this book for ages. I literally handed coins to my father and asked him to buy me the book (it was R135). This purchase led to me buying the entire series- which I snuck home since my parents didn’t want me to buy the books in the first place- and it also led to my habit of buying books and sneaking them into my room without telling my parents. Thankfully my parents accepted my book addiction soon after that.
5) First eBook: The Vampire Diaries by L.J.Smith. Okay so when eBooks first came out, a very nice reader of my fanfiction emailed me pdf copies of The Vampire Diaries books. Of course NOW I know you’re not supposed to email ebooks but I had no idea at that time. I really enjoyed the series though and ended up buying all the books (up till Midnight which I paid well over R100 but still haven’t read because it physically pains me now to read that series).
6) First book ordered online: A few years after I first discovered Readers Warehouse, I found out that they delivered! This made me so happy because their only stores were in Joburg and Cape Town. I immediately ordered Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas and the first three Demon Trappers books by Jana Oliver.
7) First book I cried over: The Divine One by Danielle R.Mani had me sobbing like a baby. What are your bookish firsts? Feel free to share them below.
(This blog post contains an affiliate link which means I earn a small commission each time you purchase something from the link).
Okay, I know I might be a bit biased but I really believe that starting a blog is ALWAYS a good idea. Starting a blog in college is like the best idea. Here’s why:
1) You have a record of your college experience- College is not something that is forever (honestly I wouldn’t want it to be either). A blog is a great way to keep track of your college experience. It’s been two years but I still like to read and reread the horror of my first year. I like looking back and marvelling at how things have changed.
2) You gain writing experience- You’re probably wondering why do you need writing experience. Well if you’re a student of humanities chances are that you’re going to be writing essays. Knowing how to write well is a great advantage to have in college. There have been so many occasions when I had no idea what I was saying in an essay but I managed to scrape together a pass.
3) You gain friends- blogging is a great way to make friends. You find people who are going through the same things as you. Being a college blogger allows you to meet other stressed college students who you can share your woes with.
4) You get a portfolio of writing pieces- if you’re interested in a job that involves writing, starting a blog is a good place to begin. You can gain writing clips simply by writing on your blogs. Some paying jobs actually look for blogging experience.
Do you have a college blog? What’s your favourite blog to read? I’d love to know!
1) Just keep swimming
2) You don’t need a man to save you
3) Look beyond outward appearance
4) Don’t eat anything from strangers (how did Snow White not know this???)
5) Never sign contracts without reading (and very carefully thinking) it over. Especially if it’s a contract from an octopus-like person
6) Never trust a guy who proposes too soon. Especially if too soon happens to be one day.
7) If you don’t invite people to your party they may get upset and curse your child. Always invite people even if you don’t like them (maybe just give them the wrong date/address?)
8) Speaking of curses, never make deals with someone who can spin straw into gold (who does that??? That’s dodgy on it’s own)
9) Keep Moving Forward
What lessons have you learnt from Disney movies?
I can think of no period of time in my life when I didn’t want a car. Now that I have one however, there’s a million responsibilities that comes with it.
1) Petrol- this doesn’t bother me that much since my mother pays for the petrol and we don’t use it that often but petrol costs an arm and a leg. I shudder to think of my petrol expenses once I start working and driving myself to work.
2) They get dirty really quickly- at most I use my car maybe twice a week. Whether I use it less or more, it still requires washing EVERY. SINGLE. WEEKEND. This sucks since a) I have no time and b) We’re currently experiencing a drought.
3) They’re costly- I always thought that one day I would save to buy a car and that would be it. After buying a car, you need new numberplates, you need a license disc (that needs to be renewed) and cars need to go for servicing. According to my uncle George (the man who was kind enough to finance the car), servicing should be done every year no matter how often or how little you use the car.
4) You have to be really careful with a car- Okay, so you’re probably thinking that this one is obvious but I miss not having to be overly cautious as a driver because the car isn’t mine.
5) Driving is tiring- Driving is fun when you don’t HAVE to do it. It’s very adult and who doesn’t love playing adult? (Um, adults?) Driving is less fun and more effort when you’re driving for errands instead of to gain driving experience.
What did you expect about having a car? How have those expectations changed?
I come from a long line of women who abandoned their families and responsibilities and ran away. So it should surprise no one that I did the same. I was simply doing what my blood made me do. It was genes that propelled me out of town.
Unlike the rest of the females though, I was running away to escape family. Sort-of. The person I was escaping was my mother’s abusive husband.
“We’re here, miss,” the taxi-driver announced to me.
And sure enough there it was, the exit of Delfino.
I got out of the taxi and waited for the man to unload my bag.
“Is someone coming to pick you up?”
“He’ll be here in a second.”
“Do you need me to wait with you?”
“No, thank you. Forget we ever met. You drove around all evening but never got any passengers. Understood?”
The man’s eyes glazed off as a result of my mind control.
“You may leave.”
As soon as he disappeared from sight, I crossed over the line dividing Delfino from the ordinary world.
I was free at last.
My fiancé, Sinjin waited for me on the other side.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked.
“Never been surer about anything in my life.”
It was a lie. I was terrified. And angry. I wanted a home. I wanted love. I wanted family. I certainly didn’t want to run away to get it. Which eighteen-year-old runs away from home? Surely by that age people outgrow running away?
“Well then, here we go.”
We got into the car and drove away from everyone and everything I had.
As I crawl through the torture chamber that is my third year of college, my poor family members have to make themselves content with the fact that I still don’t have a boyfriend. Now while I cannot understand why I need a boyfriend (because yes I’ve been told that I “need to get a boyfriend”- they weren’t selling any when I went grocery shopping the other day), the reasons people come up with for me not having a boyfriend is hilarious. I’ve compiled this list of the reasons (according to my family) why I don’t have a boyfriend.
1) Because I don’t wear shorts- because legs are an important part of a relationship (are they? I really don’t know and that line put waay too much dirty thoughts in my mind)
2) I read too much- I’m sorry but I really don’t see how this is a problem. Now leave me alone, I’m on the third Harry Potter book.
3) I don’t leave the house enough- hey if a guy wants to date me, he’s going to have to find me first. I’m not looking to date. I’m looking to finish my Harry Potter Series. In my house.
4) I don’t dress up enough- now this is just silly. I’m wearing pjs in the house and if we’re leaving the house I need to be comfy since I’m either driving or napping.
5) I’m too shy- I’m only shy if I don’t know you #sorrynotsorry
Red Riding Hood spoke to a stranger and look where that got her.
6) I have a temper- how does any potential boyfriend know that? Also I don’t have a temper -I have a low tolerance for stupidity.
7) I’m too arrogant- According to Google arrogant means: “having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities”. I’m sorry I think I’m amazing. I thought that loving yourself was a good thing. All the internet posts lie!
8) I’m sarcastic- again I don’t see how this is a problem.
9) I keep my feelings to myself- who am I supposed to keep them with? Also I totally share my feelings. Have you seen my social media? And if you’re a close friend then you probably know 99.9% of the time what’s going on in my mind, in my life, in my family, on my road, etc.
I awoke with a cough. And another. It continued until my throat was sore.
Am I dying? I wondered.
And then I remembered. I was supposed to be dead.
A man rushed over to me with a cup.
“Drink this,” he ordered.
His voice was deep and steady. Had he saved me? Why?
My coughing refused to stop so I sat up in bed and took a sip of the drink. It was sweet and cool. I drank it all eagerly.
I nodded before turning my full attention to the stranger. He had brown hair and intense brown eyes. They reflected no emotion.
“Who are you?”
“My name is Lucas.”
“You saved me.”
“I didn’t want to be saved.”
I replayed my suicide attempt in the back of my mind. My poor Stella. I needed her. She needed me. Focus. You can’t break down now.
“Thank you for your help but I need to leave. My family will be looking for me.”
Lucas grabbed my hand before I could leave the bed.
“You have no family.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I do, Catalina.”
I pulled my hand out of his grip. I felt uneasy.
“How do you know my name?”
“I asked around.”
I edged away.
“Catalina, you lost alot of blood. There was no way to save you.”
“But you did,” I said.
“Not without a price. Catalina, you’re a vampire.”
I stiffened. No. No no no no no.
My gaze fell on the cup he had given to me earlier.
“That was blood.”
“You’ve heard the stories?” Lucas sounded surprised.
“Of course I have.”
All of London was amused at the stories of monsters lurking around at night, waiting to drain us of blood. I had never thought that the stories were true.
“There has to be some way to kill me,” I begged. “I can’t live. Please, Lucas!”
I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. I hastily wiped them away.
I simply sniffed in response.
“You can turn it off. You can stop it.”
“I’ll help you.”
That single small act of kindness from Lucas had repercussions lasting for centuries.