Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Favorite Goodreads Hack!

First off: Are you on Goodreads?! It is one of my favorite social media platforms, because, of course, it centers around books. I love peaking at what my friends are reading and finding book recommendations based on what I've already read. Plus, they have a yearly challenge that is my favorite challenge to meet every year.

So if you aren't on it yet, go ahead and join. I'll wait right here.

I've had two problems with Goodreads since I started. The first problem was that I couldn't mark rereads on the website. If I read the book multiple times (which I love to do), I couldn't accurately show how often I've read the book. In February, Goodreads fixed this problem!

Now, I'm going to tell you how to solve the second problem I have. It is not difficult to fix, and I'm probably not the first person to realize how this works, but I only discovered it a few days ago and it's too good not to share.

So my other biggest problem is that once I moved a book to Read, I couldn't take it off my list completely. I wanted to keep track of books that I've started but didn't finish, and the only way to do that was keep them in Read and put them in a separate list labelled did-not-finish.

But, because I am the most OCD, it bugged me that my Read list wasn't accurate, and worse, that I was getting book recommendations based on these books I didn't like enough to finish.


There's a nifty tool that Goodreads has built in to their bookshelf feature that will allow you to remove books from your Read list completely to mark as Didn't Finish.

First, go to Goodreads and click My Books at the top.

Once you get there, look on the sidebar where you see all of your bookshelves. Click on Edit.

That will bring you to a list of all of your bookshelves. If you don't already have a list titled "Attempted to Read" or "Didn't Finish" or "HATEHATEHATE", make one now!

Then click on the box labelled Exclusive next to that bookshelf.

By clicking this button, you are lumping this Attempted to Read bookshelf with the Read, Currently Reading, and To Read bookshelves. This exclusive button means that a book can only be in one of these categories.

Thus, when you add a book to Attempted to Read, it takes it out of Read! PROBLEMS SOLVED.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Book Review: The Sun is Also a Star

“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.” 
― Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star

Book Title: The Sun is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publication Date: 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.19 Stars
My Rating: 4 Stars

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

1. Diversity! The part that stuck with me the most how diverse these characters were. I don't often read works from POC authors (although it was one of my goals to incorporate more diversity into my reading choices this year), and when I do, I find the plot often feels forced, or the book focuses on historical events. Yes, absolutely, we need to go back and inform people about the POC accomplishments in history, but that shouldn't be the only story written.

2. A love story. This was, in fact, a millennial love story. Girl who is on the brink of being deported spends the day trying to avoid leaving the country (and her life) behind. Boy who is pressured by his parents to be a good student has to come to terms that he may not want to live up to his parent's expectations. They meet and have this quirky relationship in the course of a day.

3. So cheesy, and a bit stereotypical. There were points in the book that felt forced... the author occasionally fell into tropes rather than creating real, well-rounded characters. It was a bit expected and sometimes completely obvious. But... I didn't mind it so much. I saw the purpose and I was able to look past some of the cliches.

4. Sidenote. Hands-down, the best parts of the book were the sidenotes. Every couple of chapters, the author would give us some historical facts on a random plant or animal that the characters were talking about. Or she would expand on a random character that the main characters met in passing. Or she would expand on the idea of love or music. And these were the best parts! It was a pleasant surprise to get a bit of side story in the midst of this crazy plot.

It was a fun read, especially if you're looking for a light-hearted, modern-day romance, and it allows for diversity to be incorporated in a very real, honest way.

“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.” 

“We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write poetry. You probably hate poetry, but it’s hard to argue with ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate’ in terms of sheer beauty. We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.” 

“Growing up and seeing your parents' flaws is like losing your religion. I don't believe in God anymore. I don't believe in my father either.”

“People just want to believe. Otherwise they would have to admit that life is just a random series of good and bad things that happen until one day you die.” 

“I think all the good parts of us are connected on some level. The part that shares the last double chocolate chip cookie or donates to charity or gives a dollar to a street musician or becomes a candy striper or cries at Apple commercials or says I love you or I forgive you. I think that's God. God is the connection of the very best parts of us.”