A new blog: I’ve moved!

In my last post (nearly a year ago, forgive me) I mentioned that MCM would be abandoned in favor of a new blog. I also said that I would introduce my virtual niche once it was properly up and running, and I have to apologize. It’s been up for a while—not for too long, but long enough. You can check it out here, if you like. Some things to note:

  • This was not my first choice blog title or URL. Unfortunately, my go-to—and any variations of it—are taken, mostly by inactive blogs. (I shake my fists in rage.) If you’re curious, I will tell you that I derived it from Fringe.
  • As you will see, I am not blogging only about books. I am a heavy K-drama addict, and I love foreign films. Expect me to talk about these things a lot.
  • If you are at all familiar with MCM, I’d say you know my reading preferences fairly well. However: I’ve developed an aversion to most YA, and I am gravitating toward different books. I’m currently reading The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo and will review it.
  • Blog goals are to post 1 – 2 times a week, unless A Thing happens and wrecks havoc on my schedule
  • There are no specific weeks or days that I dedicate to books or TV & film. It’s probable that I’ll post three weeks straight about a TV show and then publish a bookish post on the fourth week. Because I go with the flow of what currently interests me, I find it difficult to remedy this.
  • If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, feel free to drop a comment at my new blog, send it through tumblr, or email me at theairtwit(at)gmail(dot)com

I also want to say that if you have attempted to contact me through the email provided on this blog, I am very sorry! I have not signed in on a computer since perhaps last year, and I disconnected the account from my phone. Also note that I’m currently following under 10 blogs—that goes for both my NEW BLOGLOVIN’ and WP BLOG! I abandoned MCM, but I won’t leave you guys behind. I’ll be adding more blogs to my feed shortly!

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Attack! A new year! A new blog!

A happy New Year’s Eve to everyone! I hope you all didn’t forget about me, because I didn’t forget about you. My days became scattered and frenzied these last few months, which turned into a habitual lifestyle that–despite mild craziness–felt oddly mundane. September through December included my last quarter of school–at least for one year (and hopefully no longer). Hating On Environmental Science & Environmental Science Used Textbook Prices became a new hobby of mine, and classes took their typical toll not only on my tolerance for irrelevancy (I’m looking at you, Weekly Interpersonal Communication Papers), but it destroyed my will. Even the smallest speck of motivation to do ALL THE THINGS ceased to exist, because ALL THE THINGS pressed down like one giant, heavy weight. At this point, blogging sat nowhere near the forefront of my mind, and a bucket of boiling dislike followed on the occasions that it did surface. …Not that there was anything to blog about.

What is a book blog if the blogger is not reading any books? What do I review? What do I update? As my interest in any and all things bookish died down, even my Tumblr book blog suffered–and still is. Just when I felt as though this reading slump was beginning to dissipate, it crashed back down in one blow. Although I did not start midnight coffee monster as a book blog, it happened to grow and lean toward the bookish direction. This… is unfortunate. I love books–I love picking them up off shelves, ogling at them, and reading them–and I love literature. I always have and I always will, but there’s an issue: reading books is only one interest, and interests–as interests tend to do–fluctuate. Just as my interest in particular genres, authors, audiences, and writing styles waver. Just as my interest in creative writing or learning an instrument changes. With all that said, I’m experiencing a big problem, and it’s called a reading slump.

If there is one thing that past slumps have taught me, it’s not to force-read books. So I asked myself again: what do I post? The more I thought about it, the more disgruntled I became with this blog and the direction it’s taken off in. I feel irritated by many things regarding midnight coffee monster, but I gained perspective from the time spent here. If given the opportunity to start fresh, I would do things differently–from posted content to how it’s run and overall intent. This is why I’m officially naming midnight coffee monster a dead blog. From now on, any blogging activity outside of Tumblr will be set on a different stage. This new virtual nook of mine is not ready for public viewing, as I feel much more meticulous than before. It’s still in the construction phase, and I am in the process of transferring over selected book reviews. Rather than showcasing this blog to everyone now, I’d like it be ready and settled first.

What I will say is the obvious: I do not intend for this blog to chiefly focus on books. While I am still thinking it through, expect me to branch off toward more show & movie talk, possibly music, and maybe personal tidbit posts. In general, I intend for it to become a summation of thoughts, interests, and hobbies. My hope is that it will more accurately reflect who I am and what I like, in turn offering content variety.

In the mean time, I want to update on what I have been up to book-wise–which, as you know, has not been much. It goes without saying that I altogether neglected midnight coffee monster, and as I said before, nie zu viele continues to receive little love from me these days. Still, over at nie zu viele, I did manage to integrate and compile

I won’t be back until it’s time to introduce my new hotspot, so until then: here’s me wishing you all a happy 2014!

x

How NetGalley Ruined My Life

I know I’ve been a poor blogger and a bad blogging-friend this summer, for I’ve been all but absent (basically). I’m sorry, I really am! But it’s NetGalley’s fault.

Okay, that’s mean–and untrue. It’s not NetGalley’s fault but my own, and my life wasn’t ruined but my summer certainly was. You see, what makes NetGalley so addicting is the idea of all these books just waiting for requests from bloggers, and I can’t resist that. Literary temptation is always my downfall, and my binge on galley requests from months before almost tanked me.

Words of advice: If you don’t have to do it and you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.

What I used to look upon as an exciting privilege turned into a nightmare. It destroyed a hobby that, in the past, provided relaxation and escape without fail. I entered summer with the prospect that, because school couldn’t interfere, I could and would enjoy all the books at my disposal. How wrong I was. You see, all these books I’d requested jumped up and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hello.” There was some eyebrow-wiggling, a groan, a gasp, a sigh. Lots of groaning. Groans of regret. Sighs of disappointment.

I was approved! But I wanted rejection! Oh no.

If you take a fun activity and turn it into a job, if you feel like it’s work, then something is wrong. And something was wrong. Speed-reading through this and that NetGalley-approved book became my summer chore, and when I wasn’t trying and failing to churn out a review on non-NetGalley books, I wasn’t reading. I couldn’t read because every book I picked up reminded me of the x number of galleys left–but then it got worse. Enter: Early Reviewers.

Over at LibraryThing–a website that I still cannot navigate without perplexing question marks sprouting around my head–runs a neat giveaway. Each month an ARC stash goes up for Early Review members. Similar to GoodReads’ First Reads, if you win an Early Review book, you should review that book lest you mar your chances for future wins. I won two books, read one, reviewed zero.

Is it all right if I scream? Reading should not feel stressful, but for this summer, it did. If anything, at least I can say that I have made it through the bulk of my NetGalley stack. Only two galleys remain, which gives me some peace of mind. Then, of course, there is a physical to-review stack of giveaway-wins that I feel obligated to review…  at some point…

to-review stack

The good news is that my hate for reading is dissolving. I’m no longer picking up a book only to sit it down after trudging through ten pages. I am actively reading The Ask & The Answer as well as Peter Pan–both of which I find easy to engage in, what with a surprise at every page-turn that Ness throws and the magic J.M. Barrie gives. So long as my to-review stack is reviewed, the pressure to schedule (gross) books and reviews–the pressure I felt from NetGalley books–is non-existent. With only two galleys left, my new direction as a reader and blogger is to steer clear of that ‘organized constraint.’ I want to put the fun back in reading. I want the freedom to read what I want when I want, which–as a mood-reader–is important.

And after three months of fret and fuss, I’m finally getting there.

Pause for more procrastination. (I leave you with Alles Neu.)

Hi all you readers and lurkers! It’s a dismal Wednesday here, rainy and grey — just how like it, however unusual this time of year. I hope your Wednesday weather is serving you well. I’m putting my busy schedule of Procrastinating On That Research Paper on pause (which is not so much of a “pause” as it is furthering my procrastination) to mention a few stuff ‘n things. The main purpose for this post, however, is to let everyone know that I am taking a short break. Just a short one! My research paper is due in less than a week (and I’ve yet to dig around in any of my sources), which is closely followed by finals. Classes end June 11th, and like most students: I have NOT kept up with the reading in one of my classes and henceforth will be cramming to the point of neuroticism.

This blog won’t be post-free during my hiatus, though. There may or may not be a Top Ten Tuesday post, but I do need to type my review up for Some Quiet Place before June 1st, and I will most likely schedule it for the following week. I had hoped to post my review for Nicking Time today, but life has not gone as planned. If it’s not up by the end of this week, then you will see it after June 4th. I can promise you that. Speaking of June 4th…

It’s the release date for Leigh Bardugo’s Siege & Storm! With exams approaching, I won’t be able to begin reading it the day it finds my mailbox — I’m crushed! But with several other delightful-sounding books on their way to me (The Emperor’s Soul being one), I look forward to a nice pile of summer reading. I’ll post more on this later.

Meanwhile: how does everyone feel about movie and book recommendations? I love nothing more than dumping a list of book recommendations on people, but I also love recommending favorite films. This is an idea I’ve toyed with for the past few months, which first started with the thought to give “weekend reading” suggestions. I’ve never considered my blog a “YA book blog,” although that is what I primarily review. My taste in film is plenty different from my taste in literature, and not all of my recommendations will target the YA audience. I’m not positive if I will do  this, but if I do it won’t be until classes end. I’m also bouncing between posting movie and book recommendations on the same day (Friday), or alternating every other week (books one week; films the next). So what are your thoughts?

Before I end this, I want to thank everyone who showed interest in the A Monster Calls giveaway! A winner was selected but did not respond, and now I await to hear back from the runner-up. (I’m beginning to wonder if my messages are truly sent, or if there is an awful glitch in Tumblr’s system…) If another two days pass with no reply, I’ll carry on moving down the list.

Now I’m off, supposedly to work  on a paper that’s in desperate need of writing-up, but who really knows. Far off from anything bookishly related, I will leave you with a song that someone introduced me to with the phrase “gratuitous German music.” (This person should know that this phrase spawned an entirely new genre in my iTunes library, rightly titled “gratuitous German music.” It is my goal to create a playlists upon playlists filled with such music.)

gratuitous german music

(*Editing in: I am noticing more and more bloggers disappearing from my WordPress Reader. I know this is an issue many people have, and considering the length of time this has been going on, I doubt WordPress intends to fix it. If I am not following by e-mail subscription, I plan to (re-)subscribe to blogs I follow via Bloglovin’ — something I know I can trust.)

Some news, a thank you, and an apology for last week!

My WordPress activity this last week was nearly stagnant while I did pass time navigating GoodReads now and then — I’m sure some GoodReads pals noticed. I fell behind in comments and other bloggers’ posts, and I already feel lost within the community after a week-long partial absence. These eyes of mine finally checked my WP Reader on Sunday, as I had not been updated on any blog since last Monday. In the meantime, I am mostly up-to-date with everyone’s comments (as well as posts), although I am aware of other comments that need replies. I will get to them!

I am sorry for the lag in response time on my part, as well as for the temporary post-halt. I appreciate every comment and love to respond, but my pace is on the slower side at the moment. A bit of sad news rained down, which explains some of my lack of activity.

I found out that my dear old cat, Andy, was put down on Monday (8/27) — news that I did not hear until the following day. He was old (over 20 years), but he was not — to my knowledge — in any kind of major distress or unbearable pain. Not only was it was my hope that he would have the privilege to live out the rest of a natural life, but that the person taking care of him would in fact take care of him. Instead, it seems the cost of keeping an old cat played lead role in deciding to go through with euthanizing him. What’s done is done, but there’s still a twinge of sadness (and a grudge…). Andy had always remained within a select circle of family members, so his loss is strongly felt. He was a wonderfully friendly cat with the sweetest temperament, and I miss him terribly.

To add, a close relative of mine is very ill. I dedicate a large part of my every day helping this person out, which does take a toll on both my personal life and hence my blogging activities (naturally). While I love this person, it’s impossible not to feel my energy drain to a new low by afternoon on most days. (But of course: as a night owl, I’m wide-eyed and awake at midnight, no matter how little sleep I get!) With this and fall classes about start, I expect my availability and free time will further decrease. Still, I would like to keep midnight coffee monster an active blog! There’s no way to tell if I can keep up with weekly book meme posts each week, but I do have reviews planned and will be updating soon about R.I.P. VII.

(And I must admit that I sacrificed blogging opportunities so that I could finish Legend of Korra last week. It was worth it, even if Aang’s show wins my favor. Where are my fellow ATLA fans? I know you’re out there.)

Books I will definitely review include: A Monster Calls, The Merchant at the Alchemist’s Gate, and The Hobbit. (I’m combining week 2 and 3 questions for The Hobbit group read — it will be posted no later than Wednesday/Thursday.) I am unsure if I will review Northanger Abbey yet, but I am busy adoring every page of it. I should also receive a copy of Y: A Novel by Marjorie Celona, which I will review as well in spirit of GoodReads First Reads!

Y: A Novel by Marjorie Celona

“Y. The wishbone, fork in the road, empty wine glass. The question we ask over and over. Why? My life begins at the Y…” so opens the story of Shannon, a newborn left at the doors of the local YMCA. Bounced between foster homes, Shannon endures neglect and abuse before she finally finds stability with Miranda, a single mother with a daughter of her own. But as Shannon grows, so do her questions. Who is her true family? Why would her parents abandon Shannon on the day she was born?

The answers lie in the heartrending tale of her mother, a headstrong young woman with a flawed and desperate fate, trapped in a tragic series of events that will destroy her family and test the limits of her compassion and sacrifice.

It’s a dose of literary fiction from what I can gather, which I don’t read too often but usually enjoy. Likewise, I hope to enjoy Celona’s novel!

That’s it from me for now. Thank you to all who continue to follow this blog — I appreciate every comment, every like, and every subscriber.

Enjoy your week, and happy reading!
x

Some updates:

1. My mother aged x number of years yesterday (7/31) — I dare not give away her age, as she lied about it for nearly ten years. For ten years, she was 25 if not 30, and her real age became lost. Unless I do the math, I am unlikely to remember how old she is. Even she forgets how old she is. In any case, it’s customary in my family to keep our birthdays quiet and small, and she wanted to celebrate by eating at IHOP. I don’t think I’ve gone to IHOP since my mid-teens, but I strongly connect this particular restaurant to all things that are right and divine with breakfast. One bite of a blueberry pancake at IHOP means an explosion of ten-thousand heavenly realms inside my mouth. Yum.

Well, one bite of IHOP’s chicken fajita omelette means a sudden burst of culinary punishment. It represents almost — almost — all that can go wrong inside a kitchen. It was cold with chicken pieces hard as stone, and is that chocolate sauce mixed into the salsa? Yes, that is chocolate sauce mixed into the salsa. I felt sure that my grandmother’s queen-bee air succeeded in offending the waitress, and I became a victim by association. Convinced that the cook (or waitress) may as well have spit into the food, I would have felt safer eating my dinner off a 7-Eleven bathroom floor.

Nauseated, I refused to eat the remainder of this omelette grotesquery, and I have not fancied the thought of eating since that very moment of disgust. To be honest, I have refused to eat food entirely today and resorted to coffee as my primary energy source.

My head is on verge of exploding. I caved back into the necessity of eating for survival, but it will be a long while before I step foot inside another IHOP… or any food-serving place that I cannot refer to as “my kitchen,” for that matter.

2. Today is August 1st. Remember what that means? The Austen in August reading challenge has commenced! If you don’t follow Roof Beam Reader or missed my post last month, you can check out the master post now. My planned Austen schedule is as follows:

Given that I always have a huge stack of other books to read, I’m giving myself a week for each Austen novel.

3. I had hoped to review R.J. Palacio’s Wonder by Thursday (tomorrow for me, but today for most), but I had to return it lest my library fine grow even larger. There will be no book reviews from me this week, but next week I’d like to review Legend and/or Divergent.

4. I no longer trust my WP reader. I sporadically check blogs when I realize I haven’t seen any recent posts, but if you suspect I’m not receiving yours: please do inform me.

Now that I’m on the topic of blogs, thank you to Enchanted by Books, Nerdy Book Reviews, and PidginPea’s Book Nook for the award nominations! I appreciate the thought and recognition, and I will hopefully make the award posts this weekend. Until then, click over to see these lovely bloggers’ content!

5. I am rediscovering my Tumblr and trying not to feel jilted by the amount of lost followers. I guess that is what happens when one does not reblog cat photos and unpunctuated text posts for three months. Who wants to send me a number?