Historical fiction is a difficult genre to write in, especially because the times are so far back in the past that you have to be extremely careful with your research. You can’t disrespect the past while you write your story, and you have to get things exactly right. But when authors do get it right, they manage to blow you away in more ways than one and in ways you’ll often not see coming. Among this population of authors is Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai, who, after seven years of research, published the book The Mountains Sing, a story set before and during the Việt Nam war. I became an instant fan of her when I finally read it in December 2022. And not just because of the book.Continue reading “The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai | Book Review”
5 Years of The Melodramatic Bookworm on YouTube! | What I Have Learned?
5 years ago, on 18 February, 2018, I made a decision to start a YouTube channel in which I could talk about books. I’d never been good at talking on camera in a rehearsed manner. But books were something I was willing to take this extra leap for. Of course, I didn’t get good at it right off the bat. I’m not the best at it now either. My very first video – an introduction of sorts – is likely the worst video ever on the Internet and I have nightmares descend on me the moment I start thinking of it. But that’s the thing – you can’t expect to be expert-level good at something the moment you start doing it, no matter what the thing is. And I’ve lived this multiple times.Continue reading “5 Years of The Melodramatic Bookworm on YouTube! | What I Have Learned?”
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf | Book Discussion / Thoughts | Part 2
A few months ago, I talked about one of my very first books of 2022: Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own. It wasn’t a review, for how can I review a book of that stature? As it stands tall and stands up for women through time and space? As it calls out the misogyny and sexism that we have come to take as ‘normal’? As it shows us why Virginia Woolf is a much-loved figure in English literature? How could I have done all that? No, never in a thousand lives! I merely took my favorite quotes from the book and wrote a piece about why Woolf is so relevant. A book discussion/thoughts of sorts. That was part 1.
And here, finally, is part 2.
But we cannot proceed without mentioning the sentence that defines the book. The sentence that, once you’ve read the book, will make so much sense and will open the book to you every time you read the sentence:
A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.Continue reading “A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf | Book Discussion / Thoughts | Part 2”
Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson | Book Review
There are books that attract you with their covers, some because they have a strong blurb, and some others, just because of the title. This, again, is nuanced, because there are beautiful titles and then there are titles like this book, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone that makes you think, “Huh! I NEED to know HOW!” It’s a bold statement to make though, and more often than not, the book ends up being a damp squib. But this one lives up to what it promises. Everyone in the protagonist’s family HAS killed someone and we’re about to find out how.Continue reading “Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson | Book Review”
2022 Reading Recap | Favorite Books, Books I DNFed, and Least Favorite Books!
I don’t want to start off yet another blog post with how shitty 2022 started off, although by mentioning this, I’ve actually done what I said I wouldn’t. But it’s a big reason why my reading saw so many crests and troughs throughout the year, so it’s unavoidable, really. I’ve already spoke about how blogging went for me in 2022 (here in this blog post). Today, I’ll talk about how my reading went. I’ve been writing this blog post for what feels like decades and only now am I getting to upload it. But better late than never, right?Continue reading “2022 Reading Recap | Favorite Books, Books I DNFed, and Least Favorite Books!”
2023 Goals | Change is Here to Stay… And I Love It!
Happy New Year, everyone! I hope this year brings you lots of love and light, and everything you wish for. ❤
A few months into 2022, I wrote a post which broadly outlined my goals for the year. It wasn’t because I didn’t want a lot for myself. I did. I wanted so much that I knew I wouldn’t be able to accomplish them if I put so much pressure on myself. Of course, circumstances made sure that I couldn’t complete half of them, but that’s the beauty (or cruelty) of time – more is always going to come, irrespective of whether you’re there or not. So, this year, too, I’m going on the same path because I know that this will lead to the place I want to be at. The difference between present me and the me from 2021 is so stark that I feel whiplash sometimes, as if I lived 2 years across the entirety of 2022.Continue reading “2023 Goals | Change is Here to Stay… And I Love It!”
My Blogging Highlights of 2022 | Blogging Achievements I’m Proud Of!
2022 was a mediocre year for me personally. It started off with a humongous life and reading slump before I finally crawled out of it, coughing and squinting, wondering what I had missed. I feel like I speak way too much about this, but it was a tipping point for me, one that almost lost me some friends and work. But something had snapped and because of that, it’s come to define 2022 for me, both personally and professionally. After that horrific slump, I slowly got back on track, wondering if I should continue making YouTube videos or if I wanted to veer off into other territories. Some of these thoughts are still on my mind, still revolving leisurely in there for when I’ll deign to give them more than a minute each time.
That aside, there was one thing that I wanted to do for sure: get back to serious blogging. I haven’t been as consistent as I had wanted to be, but I’ve made quite some progress and I’m really proud of how far I’ve come this year alone. Even if it’s 10 meters and not the 10 miles that I wanted to have traveled before 2022 ended, it’s been progress and I know that the future is far more welcoming because of it.
But in today’s blog post – one of the first in my year-end posts – I want to talk about my blogging highlights from this year. In this reflective, introspective post, I’ll be telling you about the blogging-related things that I’ve done in 2022 that I’m really happy about and some that I’m outright proud of, although I’ve already gushed about it on here. No harm in repeating the joys, is there? 😉
Revamping & Cleaning Up the Blog
Step 1 this year for blogging, and a huge undertaking at that, was to revamp and clean up the blog which meant:
- deleting all the posts that were irrelevant, outdated, or which didn’t agree with my beliefs anymore
- deleting all the media that had doubled up or which were no longer needed
- streamlining all the posts: titles, thumbnails, tags, categories etc.
- editing information about my brand, be it the About section or about the services I provide as a book reviewer, editor, and proofreader
- sharing posts on social media, although I haven’t gotten better at this, but I hope to get there one day
This took me quite a while to accomplish because of the extent to which involvement was needed. I methodically went through all the posts, right from the oldest to the newest. And as I kept adding posts, I designed them according to the new ‘aesthetic’ – if that’s what you can call it – so that I wouldn’t have to edit them, too. But while the posts themselves took a few weeks to polish, it was the media that gave me a right headache because of how many unnecessary or irrelevant pictures there were. Plus, given the limited storage space that WordPress affords me, I realized – a little late, but thank God I did – that I could upload different quality pictures that were equally clear while saving space. I was, and still am, rather smug about it even though it’s pretty basic knowledge to have. 😂 I still have the excel sheet where I recorded all the media on the blog so that I could make sure they weren’t repeated.
But I’m now happy with the state that my blog is in, with the posts being up to date, the formats being uniform, and the media limited to what is needed on the site. I reuse pictures of book covers and others that I think are relevant because that’s all I can afford to splurge on a website that gives me little to no returns. Like many say, I blog for my love of writing and blogging. ❤
Writing Long-form Content
While I never shied away from writing long pieces before, this year has definitely changed my definition of them. Earlier, I used to consider 1000 words as long and it took me a while to craft the whole thing. But now, I can write a 1000-word post pretty easily. I end up thinking that maybe it doesn’t have too much flesh or that it isn’t nuanced enough but rereads tell me that I do get the points in that I was trying to make. So that’s a pretty huge win for me.
I’ve written quite a few long blog posts this year. Be it the one in which I talk about being exhausted or my social media journey or the multiple recommendations posts that I had or the multiple travel posts that I had, there were many that crossed 2000 words in the snap of a finger. I obviously got physically tired writing them, but the satisfaction of having come up with a blog post in which I put my thoughts through effectively and of having scripted another long blog post was way more than the tiredness. I still am in awe at how far I’ve come but I also am aware that I have a long way to go, be it in terms of writing or blogging or interacting with other bloggers.
But I’m ready for it all. Because I know I can. I only need time.
(Here’s an introduction to what Blogtober is and my announcement: Blogtober – Can I Do This?)
Blogtober 2022 was obviously one of my blogging highlights! There have been years in which I didn’t post as many blog posts as I did in October 2022. It was a huge accomplishment for me, but I’ll be honest: it also drained me out. Because 33 posts – including the introduction and the wrap up – are too much for anyone, even if many of these posts had previous skeletons sitting there, ready for me to fill them with flesh. Yet, I will say that I loved the whole experience because I challenged myself. I had to constantly be on my toes, trying to come up with topics that I was passionate enough to write, because half-heartedly writing blog posts isn’t my cup of coffee anymore. And I passed with flying colors, I must say. I even heartily congratulated myself, as you can see in the wrap up post.
Here’s where you can see the wrap up post in which I’ve included the links to all my Blogtober posts: Blogtober 2022 Wrap Up – The Melodramatic Bookworm.
Finding My Blogging Voice
Blogging, for me at least, has been to share whatever is on my mind but in a structured, fancy manner. There used to be a time when all of this – SEO, posting times, blogging voice – was never a concern because, let’s be frank, I had no idea why they were important. And although I’m still nowhere near understanding SEO, I feel like I have found my blogging voice.
I used to be stingy with writing and even in that stinginess, I somehow was repetitive. But over the course of the paradoxical year that was 2022, I somehow found out how I wanted my posts to be and what I wanted to share with whoever was reading them. My posts can be super personal, but I now also have a sense of detachment from them, because life has taught me that only through detachment can I see the value or spot the mistakes in whatever I’m writing. That’s a useful paradox that I’ve learnt this year that I’m putting into full use.
Another facet of this point is that I earlier wanted everything to happen in a jiffy. One week, two weeks max, and I’d lament the fact that something I wanted really badly wasn’t happening. But this year has taught me – in blogging as well as in life terms, through new languages – that things take time and effort. You need to put in both. If you don’t, and if you expect things to happen immediately, then all you’re going to get is a load of disappointment. The first point in this blog post is a solid example of this! And my patience is a lot stronger because of this.
So those were my blogging highlights of 2022! Like I mentioned before, they might not seem like much but I’m pretty proud of what I’ve achieved here, and that’s something, I guess. I’m hoping I can continue in this manner – step up the gas, even – in 2023 and take my blog to a better place. Keeping my fingers crossed! 😊
I’ll be coming up with a blog post soon about my 2023 goals which will include my reading goals/plans, blogging plans, BookTube plans, Bookstagram plans, writing plans, as well as life plans in general. Keep your eyes peeled because it’s coming soon. 😊
Let me know in the comments what your 2022 highlights were and what your 2023 plans are. I’d love to hear from you! 😊
I’ll see you very soon in the next blog post.
Until next time, keep reading, and add melodrama to your life! ❤
All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami | Book Review
Some books let out war cries as they make their point, some are mere noise but no impact. Some books are quiet as they pack a punch that you will remember until the end of your days, and some are quiet and lazy, giving you a much needed respite from everyday life; they are like vacations in a seaside resort – scenic and calm, but put you in touch with yourself. But yet others are so quiet, move so slowly, and make no overall point whatsoever that it just gets on your nerves. The adventure that you seek in reading, in literature, seems to be missing from such books. And one of my recent reads, Mieko Kawakami’s All the Lovers in the Night, is a prime example of that last type.
Before you move on, remember that this is completely my experience and opinion and that your experience with the book and opinion of it might be completely different or might overlap. While I understand why you might like the book, I hope you’ll extend the same courtesy as I share why it annoyed me to no end.Continue reading “All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami | Book Review”
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review
[Possible spoilers ahead.]
Celebrities’ lives are always beyond what we can even begin to comprehend. What we see in the media is such a small fragment of what their lives actually are like. The pressure to perform, to look good, to have that perfect balance or at least look like it – all this, while staying true to themselves is one that simmers under their smiling, picture-perfect facades. And there’s one author – among the many, I’m sure, but my favorite of them – who does it amazingly well: Taylor Jenkins Reid.Continue reading “Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review”
Recent Reads – December 2022 Edition | October & November 2022 Reading Wrap Up
If I were a little more organized, I would have made sure to have updated my October 2022 wrap up here on the blog like I did on my YouTube channel. (You can watch it here.) To be fair to myself, though, I’d just gotten off a heavy month of blogging and I guess my blogging spirit had burned out. However, the mere memory of the rush of Blogtober and the fact that I got through it, that I succeeded in posting on every day of October, puts a wide grin on my face. I had never expected that I would be able to put up 31 consecutive blog posts (33, if you include the intro and the wrap up) and to have done it has made me super happy.
So the tiredness told me that I had earned a leave of absence from here and helped me decide to combine my October 2022 wrap up with my November 2022 wrap up. I have done combined wrap ups before, so this isn’t some out of the box thing. The downside (or upside, depends on how you see it) is that there are 16 books that I need to be talking about in this blog post – 5 from October, and 11 from November. How did I end up here? We all know the answer to that! 😂Continue reading “Recent Reads – December 2022 Edition | October & November 2022 Reading Wrap Up”