Classics I Want to Read

Not everyone likes to read classics. Some find them boring, hard to read, etc. However, I think they are super important to literature, so I try to pick them up every once in a while. There are quite a few I hope to read during my lifetime, but here are five that I am most interested in right now.

1984 by George Orwell

This is the only classic on this list that I currently own- it’s a terrifying dystopian story that takes place in a future where you are not allowed to have your own thoughts. It is a scary world to think about, but the scariest part is that it is not entirely impossible. I have heard really amazing things about this one, and since I own it, I really have no excuse not to read it soon.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Hundreds of tv shows and movies reference this book over and over, and I never understand them. It follows four sisters and the conflicts they go through during the civil war in New England. Also, a movie is coming out at the end of this year, and I refuse to watch it until I read the book. But that probably won’t be for a while.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I’m sure you all know the story of Frankenstein, at least in basic terms. Frankenstein’s monster is a popular icon in our society. I want to read the actual story because I love gothic literature and this definitely falls under that. Plus, we are officially entering spooky season, so maybe I’ll find time to squeeze this one in.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

I love the tv show that was adapted from this book. It is so good. And how cool is it that we are alive at the same time as the author of a modern classic. Atwood’s second book in this series has actually just come out as well, so I am excited to read the first one and then see where the second one takes us.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Last (but most certainly not least) is a book my friend read and adored. It is such an important story, and I absolutely need to read it. I also want to watch the movie (which I will probably do regardless of if I read the book first or not). I know I will absolutely love this book, though I have heard it deals with a lot of violence, so be aware of that going in.

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Do you like reading classics? What are some of your favorites (so that I can add them to my list!)?

jessica

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I Actually Like Movie Tie-In Covers? // Discussion

Hello loves! Hope you are having a great day/night/week!

Today I wanted to talk about a topic that I have discussed a little bit on Twitter, but never in much detail: movie tie-in covers.

A lot of people have an issue with them, but personally, I love them! I thought I would talk a little bit about why I like them and then share my favorites with you (plus some not-so-great ones at the end).

Okay, let’s start off with the big one- “they’re ugly.”

I completely disagree with this one. There are so many beautiful movie tie-in covers, and some are actually prettier than the original cover!

For example…

 

 

 

 

(I don’t know if this last one is actually being sold, but I found it on book depository so I’m assuming. Also, I know a lot of people hate movie poster covers but I love this movie so much that it’s the exception, ok?).

From a promotional standpoint (wow the PR major in me is jumping out), it is a great tactic to get more people interested in a book. Someone may see the book on a shelf and remember that they watched the movie, and this could get them to read it! Or maybe they’ve seen the trailer for the movie, so they want to pick up the book first.

People buy book = money for publisher/author/everyone involved. Yay!

Also, if the book is one of your favorites, it is cool to own another edition of it. I love to collect different editions of my favorite books, so if it gets turned into a movie, I want to celebrate that somehow. This is just a personal opinion, though!

Now, I know that not all movie-tie in editions are pretty (there are some really bad ones), but there aren’t really any downsides to them.

You always have the option of buying the original cover (and the price for it usually goes down, which is always a bonus). You don’t lose anything, but others may gain something! No harm done.

Here are some examples where I prefer the original cover:

 

 

 

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What are your opinions on movie tie-in editions? Do you like them, hate them, or not have an opinion? Leave a comment down below, and let me know what your favorite (or least favorite) is!

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Are Trigger Warnings Important? // Discussion

This post was originally meant to go up a couple weeks ago, but due to the amount of research and time I wanted to put into it, I had to postpone a little bit! I’m really sorry about that, but I hope that this post was informative and useful in some way. Feel free to leave any comments sharing your personal experiences, or correct anything I say if it is wrong! I want this to be as correct as possible.

I recently came across a tweet that said that trigger warnings in books are unnecessary and that they are “spoilers.”

I was stunned when I saw this because I thought that this debate was over a long time ago. Personally, I do not have any triggers that would prevent me from reading a book, but I still find the value in including them. I want to dive deeper into this topic and explain why they are important.

Aside from my personal beliefs, I also read actual research to support my claims like I stated earlier, and at the end of this post I will have a list of some of the sites that I read- both for and against the use of them.

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What is a trigger warning?

A trigger warning is a statement at the beginning of a book, tv-show, movie, etc. that lists some of the potential “triggers,” or sensitive topics covered in the media, that could be harmful to the viewer. This is especially important for trauma survivors and those with PTSD.

What is the value?

Some researchers stated that trigger warnings could be harmful to those with PTSD in the long run because it causes them to avoid those traumas, rather than dealing with them. However, no research has been done with actual trauma survivors to determine whether trigger warnings are helpful or counterproductive.

It is not a healthy coping mechanism to avoid triggers.

That is not what I am trying to say in this post. If you suffer from PTSD, I urge you to seek help and go through the treatment process. 

However, what we do know, is that trigger warnings can be helpful if someone is just recovering from trauma, and can not yet be exposed to those triggers without severe mental strain. Also, if someone is experiencing a time of poor mental health, they can know to avoid certain media if it will be triggering for them.

Additionally, these content warnings do not necessarily cause someone to avoid the trigger; Instead, it may allow them to prepare mentally for them, rather than catching them off guard and causing a panic attack.

But what if I get spoiled by a trigger warning?

First, trigger warnings are not spoilers. Trust me. Just by looking up a review or reading the description of a book or movie, you’ll probably find the topic mentioned.

Also, trigger warnings are general enough that they are more or less themes featured in the books, not plot points.

If you are someone who doesn’t like to know anything about a book or movie before going in, then just skip the trigger warnings.

You may find them unnecessary, but that does not mean that they are not necessary for someone else. Keep that in mind when you see a content warning of some kind. If you don’t see the point, that is because they are not meant for you.

Research and Resources:

Psychology Today Article

Time Article

NYT Article– Read the comments of this one as well!!

PTSD Counseling Resources

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I hope that you found this post at least somewhat helpful. Once again, feel free to correct me if I said anything wrong in the comments. This post is meant to be informative, so I want to make sure the information is as accurate as possible.

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My Reading Tastes Have Changed… & So Has the Way I Rate Books

Hello, loves! Jess here. Notice anything new? I recently changed my site name, as well as my Instagram and Twitter handles! I wanted to “rebrand” in a way because my old name just didn’t encompass what this site is. I wanted a name that fits this blog and me! Kisses From Jess is now in the past :)

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What does this change mean? Basically nothing.

Like I said, I mainly just wanted a name that fits what this blog is- and that’s what Jessica C Writes does. I write. About books, writing, journaling, and a couple other things. As far as content, the type of things I post will stay the same, but I am going to be putting a lot of effort into those posts. I want each and every post to be something I am proud of. So that is going to be my aim for this coming year (oh- and expect more book reviews).

Anyways…

Let’s move onto what you clicked for- which is a discussion post about how my reading tastes have changed, but more specifically how it has changed my ratings!

I wrote a post about how I read both critically and for fun a few months ago, but my opinions have definitely changed on that subject since then.

I realized that (especially in the last few months) my reading tastes have been changing dramatically. What I used to read were mainly YA contemporaries- very fluffy ones. I had the occasional thriller or fantasy or adult book thrown in there, but I basically just stuck to one genre that I knew I loved.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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But the truth is, I didn’t really know what I liked in books and what I didn’t because I was only reading one type of book. Within the past few months, I wanted to change this. I wanted to pick up different books so that I could figure out what I like.

I now pick up books that are very different from what I was reading just a couple years back. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t suddenly become a huge high fantasy or science fiction reader, but I stray outside of the YA contemporary romance books. I read mysteries and thrillers, and lots of NA and Adult books! I also add a lot more fantasy novels to my TBRs than I have in the past!

Overall, I have definitely broadened my horizons when it comes to reading, and I am so happy about that!

How has this affected my reviews?

Because I now know what I like to see in books- in terms of themes, genres, character development, etc., I read more critically. I am very picky about what I like and what I don’t like, so I don’t give everything 4 or 5 stars anymore as I previously had for no reason whatsoever. I basically just gave everything 5 stars as long as I somewhat enjoyed it.

With that in mind, I am also pickier about what I read to begin with- I don’t add books to my TBR just because they are extremely hyped by the book community. I only add books that I have a genuine interest in reading now. So even though I said I give less 4/5 stars, that doesn’t mean the book is necessarily bad. It still had something in it that drew me to it, it just isn’t one of my all time favorites.

Mainly, I am just pickier about what I choose as my favorite books opposed to just good books.

For example- a rating between 4-5 means a book is amazing and I really, really love it. It has definitely earned a spot in my top favorites.

However, a book with 3-4 stars does not mean the book is bad- there was just certain elements that fell flat for me, or I was a little disappointed by it. For example, I might not have liked the writing style, but loved the story. Or the pacing was slow but I loved the characters, etc. This is still a book I enjoyed though!

I think most people see a 3 star rating and assume a book is bad, when that is not the case for me at all. It all definitely depends on each reviewer and how they rate their books, but I think in general a 3 star rating is not equal to a book being awful.

I rarely give 1-2 stars, but those are the books that I consider “bad.”

By experimenting with my reading tastes, I have definitely turned into a much more critical reader. Reading critically is something I really enjoy, and I’ve always been this way with books for school, so I don’t know why it has taken me this long to be this way with other books.

This post is getting pretty long, so I’ll end it there!

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Have your reading tastes changed at all? How/Why? This is a topic I could go on about for days, and it’s super interesting to hear other people talk about! Definitely leave a comment letting me know your opinions on this down below :)

See you soon!

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2019 Reading Goals // Blogmas Day 12

2018 has been a weird year. It simultaneously felt like the longest and shortest year ever. There were so many ups (I graduated high school, went to prom, my first Bookcon, started college, I moved, etc), but there were also a few downs.

But now we’re moving onto a new year, which always brings hope and promise of better, exciting things.

For today’s post, I wanted to create a list of my reading goals for the upcoming year because I didn’t really follow any this year, and I thought it would be fun! It will also be fun to look back on them at the end of the year and see if I am still following any!

Read more diverse books

This first one is something that I already try to do whenever I can, but it’s definitely something I want to continue to do in 2019 and incorporate more of. I’m hoping that at least 40-50% of the books I read have a diverse aspect to them in 2019, which is definitely doable.

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Read one e-book a month

I recently purchased an Amazon tablet, so I want to make sure I get plenty of use out of it. I have been reading a lot of e-books recently, so this shouldn’t be a problem at all. I definitely have way over 12 e-books currently, and I really want to get the number down.

Don’t buy any books (5 freebies)

I’m trying to go for a ‘no-buy nineteen’ because I own way too many books that haven’t been read yet, and I definitely have enough to get me through the year. To give you an idea, I have over 90 books on my owned TBR, and I usually read about 60 books in a year. That means I have plenty of options for books.

I am going to allow myself 5 freebies though, because I want to be able to read some 2019 releases, and sometimes you just have to have a book, you know? For the most part though, I will only be reading books I already own.

Narrow physical TBR down to < 50 books

This goes along with the last one, but I really want to narrow my TBR down to less than 50 books. I miss the times when I would finish a book and then go to the bookstore to pick out my next one.

Although I’m not allowed to buy any books in 2019, I am still allowed to go to the library or borrow books on the Libby app- which is why this is a separate goal. You’d think that the two would be put together, but it’s possible for me not to buy any books but still not decrease my TBR.

Read one ARC a month

I have a ton of unread ARCs that I thought I would get to ASAP, but somehow they all piled up and now they are overwhelming and stressful. I plan on reading at least one a month (hopefully more), so that I can finish all of them by the end of the year. In fact, I am dedicating February to reading as many ARCs as I can because I really want to finish them all and get rid of the guilt hanging over me.

Read one book a week (52 total books)

I have read over 50 books a year for the past 2 years, so this one shouldn’t be a problem for me. For 2018, I set my reading challenge to 1 so that I would focus on quality over quantity, and I think I did that pretty well.

But, this year I want to set a reasonable goal that I know I can accomplish easily so that it is not stressful and will still allow me to read for quality.

Read at least 3 non-fiction books

I used to love reading memoirs, biographies, and other non-fiction stories. It stemmed from my desire to learn. I miss reading non-fiction, so I want to read some more of it this year. While I hope to read more than 3 NF books, I want to give myself an easy goal that I can easily accomplish.

Unhaul at least 5 books

I have a serious problem with collecting/hoarding books. There are some books that were sent to me by publishers or given to me as gifts that are duplicates of books I already have, and yet I never get rid of them. I feel like each book is a part of my soul, and giving them away is taking a part of me with them.

But, I know that I do not need all of the books I have, especially if I hated them/have multiple copies of them. I will try to donate/give away at least 5 this year (I know that sounds so easy, but it’s hard for me, ok?).

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Let me know what your goals for 2019 are! I’d love to hear :)

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Books I Need to Buy ASAP!

If you aren’t friends with me on Goodreads (you can go to my profile by clicking here) then you wouldn’t know that I have a whole shelf dedicated to books I need to buy. I can not afford to buy all of the books I want right away, because then I would be in so much debt (there are just way too many), so I occasionally add the books I want to buy ASAP on this shelf just so I can keep track of them.

I try to keep this list as short as possible, so I don’t get carried away when I’m browsing through Book Outlet! I’ve been pretty good about not buying books recently, and I’ve stuck to e-books for the most part, but here are five books I would love to own in physical form.

 

 

Final Draft by Riley Redgate

I have been wanting to pick this book up since the second I heard about the synopsis. I just feel as though I will really connect with it personally. I know there are some mixed reviews about this one, but I still really really want to own it and read it soon. I am also just so in love with the cover.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

I CAN’T BELIEVE I STILL DON’T OWN THIS!!! I have been wanting to read this since before it came out. Alice Oseman has a Youtube channel that I have been watching for many months now, and I still have not read any of her books. Luckily, I just got the audiobook of Radio Silence, another one of her novels, and I will be getting to it very, very soon! I just absolutely need this book in my hands.

Still Here by Rowan Blanchard

This is a book I feel like you can only own in physical form. It is sort of like a journal by Rowan Blanchard filled with poems, pictures, scribbles of thoughts, etc. It seems like such a beautiful work of art, and it is something I have been dying to get my hands on for a long time. Considering it is similar to the format of a book I hope to publish one day, I think it would be extremely beneficial to own this one.

 

 

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

I absolutely love Lauren Graham. I listened to her memoir “Talking As Fast As I Can” on Audiobook a few months back, and I fell in love with her writing style. It is so funny, witty, and thought provoking. I bought the ebook of her novel “Someday, Someday Maybe” but have yet to read it. I am sure I will love it, though! This new release of hers is something that I believe would be so beneficial to me right now because it is filled with advice for graduates about careers, the future, life, etc. As a recent high school graduate, and current college student who is constantly thinking about the future, I think this book would teach me a lot!

Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is a poet I have admired from afar for a very long time. I want to own some sort of collection of hers so that I can read it physically and be able to mark some of her poems for inspiration!

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What are some of your absolutely must own books? Are any of them on this list? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to have more to add on my list.

Xo, Jess

Reading Critically vs Reading For Fun

Hello everyone! It’s been a little over a week since my last post- although it feels like it’s been months!

I have settled into my dorm room at school, and I finally feel like things have gone back to normal. Obviously I am in a different setting, and the classes are totally different from high school, but I got into a normal routine and made some good friends.

Blogging should be back to a normal schedule now!

Anyways, today’s post is about something that I have been thinking about for quite a while now. I realized that there are three different ways that I read books- either critically, for fun, or a mix of both.

Critical:

I read critically mainly when I read books for school. Most of the time I don’t love the books I read for school, so I end up just reading them for the analytical part.

I am naturally a very critical reader, so this is something I do regardless of what I’m reading. I often take notes, and I write annotations in the margins of my books.

When I rate books that I read critically, they typically tend to get a lower score because I think about all the different aspects of the book- from the writing style, to the character development, world building, and sentence structure.

Fun:

On the other hand, I tend to read for fun when I am feeling very drained or stressed out. I usually pick up contemporaries when I am in the mood for just fun reading.

These books are a lot more easy going for me, and I usually fly through them pretty quickly. I don’t need to focus too much or think too hard while reading, which makes it an easy read. I love reading books for fun because it reminds me of how much I enjoy reading, and it helps it not turn into a chore.

These books tend to have a higher rating, because I just focus on my overall enjoyment, rather than all of the little details.

Both:

Finally, I read both critically and for fun at the same time- this is usually for ARCs and other books I plan to review. I want to read them for fun because I bought them for enjoyment purposes, but I also want to give a thorough and thoughtful review for you guys or the publishing company!

These book ratings tend to go either way- either high, low, or in the middle. I mix my feelings with the critical aspects of the book, so it really just depends on the book!

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Can you relate to any of these? Let me know in the comments how you read, whether it’s any of these or a different way!

Xo, Jess

Book Bucket List- Books I Want To Read Before the Year Ends

I’ve mentioned this way too many times, but my physical TBR pile is so high right now. It is honestly overwhelming. I haven’t been reading as much as I would like to, but recently I’ve been working on it! So, I made myself a “book bucket list” for the rest of the year.

These are all books that I already own and want to read before the year ends. My ultimate goal is to read all of these before buying any new books! We’ll see how that goes though.

I’m just going to list the books without talking about them though, because there are 20 on this list and the post would drag on forever!

 

_ Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

_ Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

_ The Diviners by Libba Bray

_ Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

_ Beholding Bee by Kimberly Fusco

_ Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

_ November 9 by Colleen Hoover

_ Afterparty by Ann Stampler

_ Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

_ Roomies by Sara Zarr

 

_ Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

_ Joyride by Anna Banks

_ My Lady Jane by the Lady Janies

_ My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies

_ Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

_ When We Collided by Emery Lord

_ Dreamology by Lucy Keating

_ Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

_ Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

_ The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

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This list is long, and I am not very confident that I will finish all of these, especially since I’m starting my freshman year of college in 2 weeks! But, I will try nonetheless.

Wish me luck!

Also, let me know which books on this list I should get to first!

Xo, Jess

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

Last night, I started looking through my past blog posts to get some inspiration for future posts. I quickly realized that while I kept talking about books I wanted to read, was excited to buy, etc, I haven’t talked about the books I’m ACTUALLY reading.

So, in today’s post, I am going to give you a run down of the books I’m currently reading!

**BTW, if you click on the pictures of the book covers, it takes you to their Goodreads pages!

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

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I have heard so many good things about this book for the past few months and I was able to get my AP Lit teacher to approve it for my final in her class! I have only gotten a few pages in, but I am loving it. The narrator is super creepy but the writing style is really interesting.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

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If you read my last post, you would know that I picked this book up at Bookcon because they were selling signed copies early (and for a much cheaper price). I am just starting it today (because it happens to be the release day) and I am so excited. I loved the first Morgan Matson book I read, so I can not wait to read more work by her.

The Past is Present by Kathleen Webb

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This book is also being released today, and I am part of the upcoming blog tour for it! I am just starting it now, but look forward for my review post coming up in a couple of weeks! I love the premise of this book, and I really hope I love it.

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Let me know what books you are currently reading in the comments below! I am always looking for new books to add to my TBR :)

XO, Jess

Struggles of a Book Blogger

Being a blogger is hard. Being a book blogger is even harder.

There are a ton of expectations that come with being a book blogger, like buying/reading all of the newest releases, going to different bookish events, and getting a ton of ARCs from publishers. In this post, I have a list of the different struggles of being a book blogger that I have faced many times! I hope some of you can relate to them.

Keeping Up With New Releases

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New books are being published every. single. day. It is so hard to stay on top of all of the new releases from your favorite authors, plus books you’ve been dying to read by debut authors! It is just physically impossible to a) buy them all and b) read them all as soon as they come out.

Plus, I used to think that if I am not reading and reviewing the latest books released that I am an inferior blogger. But that is so not the case! You can read and write about any books you choose to!

Feeling Like You Need To Be Reading All The Time

When I read other bloggers’ wrap ups and see that they have read 10 books in a month, it can be really harmful. It is impossible for me to read as much as I would like during the school year, and sometimes I just need a break to watch some mindless tv shows instead of investing my time in focusing on a new world. This is an internal struggle I have with myself all the time.

I don’t need to be reading at all times to be considered a book blogger. It can be hard to believe that when you rely on reading new books for blog post content, but it is important to keep in mind.

Feeling Like Your Hard Work Isn’t Paying Off

There have been times when I neglected my blog and didn’t post for a week or more. However, I usually publish at least one post a week, which takes a lot of time. Each post requires a lot of planning, writing, photographing, and editing. It might seem like it is quick and easy to do, but it’s not.

It can be a little difficult sometimes when you put in a lot of effort into a post you are excited about and not see it do as well as you had hoped. It makes you doubt yourself and your blog. I always try not to let this bother me, but sometimes it can be hard.

Book Pictures Are Actually Hard To Take

Fun Fact: I used to write fashion/beauty posts. When I started book blogging, one of the first differences I noticed was that taking pictures for bookish posts is actually way more difficult. It is hard to come up with ways to make your pictures stand out and look different for each post.

There are only so many ways that you can angle a book, so it’s hard sometimes. I don’t want all of my posts to look the same, so I try to take unique pictures. That doesn’t always work out so well.

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Blogging can be difficult. It is draining and takes a lot of time. But, I love it so much, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. Please leave a comment down below if you can relate to these struggles! I don’t want to be the only one!