Kernels of Nonsense: In Which I Tell You How I Really Feel…

Kernels of Nonsense is now a place for discussion posts and any assortment of other random book & blogging related topics I come up with. This post was inspired by Amber Elise @ Du Livre‘s confession post Blogger Confessions. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read her candid confessions, I encourage you to do so. It’s so refreshing to see another blogger’s unapologetic take on certain subjects. The point of this post is to get a little more honest than I usually am and help you get a better glimpse of who I am as most of these are views are ones I rarely ever share openly.

When I was first inspired by this idea, I started a list of things I wanted to mention on my phone and so much just spilled out of me. I had no idea I felt so strongly about so many things. As it were, I will probably do another post like this one in the future, so this is just a tiny glimpse into some of my opinions.

1. Let’s just dive in. I sometimes wonder if Leigh Bardugo will ever write a book that takes place in a different world than her Grishaverse. I love Six of Crows. It’s one of my favorite books. When everyone was celebrating a Nikolai duology, I was sighing heavily, knowing I would need to go back and finish the Grisha Trilogy, so I’m up to date on the characters (but do I really want to?) when I really just want to see what she can do with a different world. I have all the books in the Grisha Trilogy, but the more time that passes, the less interested I am in having to read them.

2. I get really anxious about authors following me on Twitter for several reasons. First, if I haven’t read their book and end up hating it, chances are much higher they’ll see my negative review even when I don’t tag them in it. Second, what if they stop following me for whatever reason and I happen to click on their Twitter bio only to discover that they have in fact unfollowed me? Now I’m left to wonder why…what did I do?…what did I not do?…is it me?…is it them?…why????!!!!

3. This has happened on several occasions. I interact regularly with another blogger, but then they end up going on a long hiatus or just drop off the face of the earth without notice. They are gone for like a year. I then clean out my feed, unfollowing these inactive bloggers, thinking they’re never coming back. And then BAM. They come back. And I feel really awkward following them again because maybe they’ll think I never followed them in the first place or that I unfollowed them at some point because I was annoyed by them. What do I do?

4. I once won a book through a giveaway and never received it in the mail. I didn’t contact the blogger because it wasn’t her responsibility, it was the publisher’s, but I’m still really bitter about it. Here’s the kicker. I don’t actually remember the name of the book. I know I added it on Goodreads when I won, but off the top of my head, I just remember it was about a friendship between two girls. Yet, I still remain bitter. I will take this bitterness to the grave.

5. I love the idea of having a coblogger. I think if I found the right person, we’d do incredible things together. A weight would also be lifted off my shoulders and I wouldn’t have to worry about the blog being sparse because this perfect coblogger would carry her weight. Her reviews would always be thoughtful and put together nicely. We could play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses and create incredible content. In reality, I trust nearly no one. My philosophy is if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. The only way it would be possible to have a coblogger is to have some kind of trial run where I could cut the strings at the end without feeling guilty (I will feel guilty because I want to be nice) because inevitably you’ll probably going to let me down (I know this because I’m really not nice).

6. Who decided enamel pins were the new thing? I have nowhere to put them and no real use for them. I think they’re okay, but I haven’t been caught up in the trend like everyone else. If I was a kid with a backpack, I could totally see the appeal, but as an adult, I don’t get it. Also, funko pops. I mean, they can be cute, but I can’t see myself spending money on them.

7. There is a really popular blogger who I see on my TL all the time and who rubs me the wrong way. I confess that the main reason is because they blocked someone in the community that I really respect and every time I see someone retweet them or like one of their tweets, I think about this. I should probably just mute them. Does this make me a horrible person that I just don’t think we’d get along well? I’m sure this person is nice enough, but I’m always thinking of how they blocked this other blogger because she asked them a question they didn’t like. Coward. That’s too harsh, isn’t it? I still think it though.

Have you ever made a confession post? Do you agree or relate to any of my views? Let’s discuss and feel free to share an opinion in the comments that you rarely ever talk about. I will only judge you a little bit.

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Kernels of Nonsense: Giving the Feature Both More and Less Direction

Kernels of Nonsense was originally created as a discussion feature that once upon a time was posted twice every month. Back when I was a newbie blogger, I thought it would be a piece of cake coming up with ideas and writing a discussion post every two weeks or so. And I actually succeeded…for a while. But blogging is a really time-consuming hobby and when it’s paired with reading (another time-consuming hobby), things don’t always come easy.

Soon Kernels of Nonsense was only a feature I posted once a month and can you believe it? That even became something I struggled to do. Over the past year and maybe even earlier, my discussion posts kind of became an urban legend. In 2017, I only succeeded in posting four discussions posts. That’s a far cry from the twenty-four a year I had going originally.

I’ve wanted to be able to have more discussion posts on my blog, but wanting something and having the ability and time to do so are two different things. I’ve come to the realization that I may never get back that same kind of enthusiasm (and let’s be honest, I’m not really eager to get back the stress either) that accompanied those regular discussion posts. I no longer feel comfortable giving myself a strict schedule with said posts and I feel even less excited about making myself write when the words just aren’t coming. As a result, I’ve decided to revamp this feature a little.

Kernels of Nonsense will still be the home of bookish and blogging related discussions, but I also want to allow myself the freedom of playing around with the feature more. There may be times where I simply talk about five recent books I’ve added to the TBR, or the fact that I happen to hate a certain element on book covers. They won’t always be long discussions and sometimes they may be incoherent (I get a lot of my ideas when I’m suffering a bout of insomnia and I’m not exactly lucid during those times). But there have been blog post ideas I’ve had that never really fit any of the features or memes I have on the blog and I’ve had no idea what to do with them. Hopefully, this will allow me to finally get to these ideas.

Ultimately, I am hoping that this feature appears on my blog more frequently. I can’t promise it will appear every month or even every other month, but I want it to be there when I’m struck with an idea or I’m struggling with writing reviews (this is me right now, I’m just sort of feeling bleh about them) and I still want content on the blog. Funnily (I can’t believe this is an actual word), I feel like this new direction captures the essence of “Kernels of Nonsense” more than my original vision.

Do you write discussion posts regularly? Do you ever struggle putting discussion posts together? Is there a new feature on your blog that you want to try out this year? Let’s discuss in the comments!

Kernels of Nonsense: Why I’m Reading Less in 2018

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on the blog where I talk various book and blogging related topics. As my first discussion post in 2018, I’m talking about my decision to lower my Goodreads reading goal compared to last year.

At the beginning of 2017, I contemplated reading less than I had the year before, but folding under the pressure of setting a goal right away, I ended up aiming for the same amount of reads compared to the previous year. As 2018 approached, I once again began contemplating lowering my goal. The amount of books I picked up in a month took a bit of a hit during November and December of last year. I ended up reading only four books for each of those two months when I usually average around seven books. This didn’t exactly sit well with me, but I also learned something about how I approach reading and reviewing.

The decline of my reading efficiency during the latter part of the year had to do in part to the holidays. In theory, holidays should mean more time to read, but in reality it just means you have more time to do all the extra stuff you need to do because of said holidays. When I did have time to read, it was usually at night, but by that time, I would rather conk out than pick up a book. But I discovered something interesting. I kind of liked spending the extra time on a book.

If I’m on my game so to speak, I can finish a book in three or four days. Add an extra day that I spend writing a review and that pretty much means that I don’t have a whole lot of time to slack off in order to meet my goal for the year. In 2017, I ended up meeting my goal fairly early and so those two months I spent not reading a whole lot functioned as a bit of a reprieve from all that reading pressure.

When I only picked up four books in a month, I never had to force myself to try and catch up, reading 200 pages in a day because I neglected to read enough during the first few days. And it was nice. I went a couple of days not reading at all because I was so busy. I had more freedom when it came to reviews as well. I wasn’t scrambling to write one, so I could quickly move on to the next book.

You know what happens when you have more time to read and review a book? At least for me, I had more time to appreciate them. I had more time to think about these stories and characters. I had more concise and polished thoughts. I got more out of these books than I normally did when I spent less time with them.

My Goodreads goal for 2018 isn’t dramatically lower than 2017, but because I ended up reading more than my goal last year, I feel safe with a 65 book goal. If I only get to 65, I will be reading about ten books less which will give me more time to enjoy the books I do pick up.

Are you planning to read more or less this year? Do you feel like you get more out of a book when you spend more time with it? How do you handle the pressure to read so many books in a year? Let’s discuss in the comments.

Kernels of Nonsense: My Month of Mini-Reviews

Kernels of Nonsense is a discussion feature here on my blog where I like to discuss both book and blogging related topics. I wanted to take a moment this month and write about my experience with review writing in July.

If you’re been around my blog for the past month, you may have noticed that I’ve been posting mini-reviews instead of full ones. In July, wanting to get to as many books as possible, I decided that I’d write mini-reviews for all my reads. If you’re like me, you sometimes struggle to get through full reviews. Mini-reviews have been a saving grace for me. There’s always a book or two a month that I struggle with finding all the right words for and settling on a mini-review for them has taken loads of stress off my shoulders.

I ended up surpassing my usual number of reads in July and I credit the mini-review with this. I have a very strict routine when it comes to my reads and reviews. I know a lot of bloggers can wait some time after finishing a book to write the review and can even read more books in between finishing one and reviewing it. I can’t do this. I have to write a review for my last read before moving on. This isn’t always ideal when the words just don’t seem to come and I’m eager to move on.

In July, I felt like an incredibly efficient reader and blogger. After I finished one book, I was writing a mini-review almost right afterward and picking up my next novel a lot quicker. Not all of my reviews came out super easy, but because they were condensed versions of my full ones, I was able to get through them a lot easier.

If you were to ask me what’s the hardest post to write as a book blogger, I’d probably say the review. We all approach the review differently and I don’t have a set formula for how I write out my thoughts on a book. I take notes while I read and while this does help me when I’m looking for direction, sometimes all those thoughts and feelings aren’t easily expressed. I even struggle with taking notes when I’m just not feeling much of anything for a novel and knowing I have a full review ahead of me does not keep the pressure off. I’m always in the mind set that I need to come up with a good three or four paragraphs discussing the book in front of me. This isn’t always easy and sometimes I just don’t have the time or the motivation to do so.

Writing only mini-reviews in July felt like a kind of vacation. While reading, I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I may not have enough thoughts to write a full review, I didn’t get antsy in between reads, and I ended up picking up more books than usual. I had a couple of personal things come up during July, so in retrospect, I probably could have read a couple of more books that month.

Will this change the way I approach review writing? Will you be seeing more mini-reviews from me? Not likely. I like the balance I’ve achieved, writing only one pair of mini-reviews a month. While I’ve said writing full reviews can be a struggle, it can also push me as a reader to dig deeper into the book I’m reading. I read for pleasure, yes, but I also want to get something from the experience and writing full reviews helps me to do so.

Do you write mini-review on your blog? Do you struggle with full reviews? How to you handle writer’s block when it comes time to write a review? Let’s discuss in the comments!