Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Books Commonly Assigned in School that I Didn’t Read

I honestly love the original prompt, but I haven’t been feeling well since Sunday and I forgot to get my Top Ten Tuesday post ready. I find I’m in a bit of a rush and I can’t spend the needed time to find the covers I’d like for that prompt. Instead, I’m going to save today’s prompt for later and pivot to one I saw Bookwyrm Knits do for the school freebie back in August. The prompt is “Books Commonly Assigned in School that I Didn’t Read.”

When I was in high school, I hated reading. I avoided it at all costs if I could help it. To get through my classes, I watched movie adaptations or checked out the novel’s Cliff Notes (predecessor to Spark Notes). The only book I read in an English class was THE SCARLET LETTER.

Anyway, here are ten books I didn’t read when they were assigned to me in school:

The only book on this list that I’ve since read on my own is THE JOY LUCK CLUB. I do want to read a couple of the others, but many of these still hold no interest for me.

I’m still not feeling the greatest so I may not respond until later this week. I’ll try to return the favor as well, and I may just let this week passby without worrying about it. Thanks for commenting still on this post!

What about you? Were there any books you were assigned in school to read and didn’t? Do we have any in common?

Due to moving in July, and having LASIK surgery and my kitty Dax crossing the rainbow bridge in August, this is the first time I’ve read my IRL book club’s book and attended the discussion. I’m glad I was able to go.

We met in-person last Wednesday evening to discuss September’s book, THE GOOD SISTER by Sally Hepworth. There were eight of us who met together and we all read the book. Here are some highlights of our discussion:

  • A few of us guessed the twist early on. Two of them thought it ruined the suspense and thrill of the story and didn’t enjoy the story as much after that.
    • Even though I also guessed the twist early, it didn’t ruin the suspense or thrill for me. Instead of anticipating this, I anticipated how the resolution came about (if there is one) or how the characters will react to the big reveal and how it will affect what they do next.
  • The rest of the group really enjoyed the book, didn’t see the twist coming, and were surprised all around by what happened.
  • All of us thought the characters were well-developed and round, including the secondary characters.
  • All of us loved the one sister–her personality and character, especially her growth arc. View Spoiler »
  • A few of us didn’t like the last chapter. We thought it was overkill. One person even suggested that it felt like the ending to Hitchcock’s PSYCHO.

Before I went to book club, I hemmed and hawed about going. I worried about sharing some of my views. I didn’t want people to discount my thoughts on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) because of thinking I was being too sensitive. One person said she thought it didn’t perpetuate the stigma like I did, which is fine. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. And, after two others members who have first-hand experience working with mental illness and/or BPD validated my views, I think it helped with understanding where I was coming from more.

*steps on soapbox* I talked about this in my review, and I think it’s worth stating again. Hepworth diagnoses the one sister as narcissistic or possible BPD. Based on the character’s actions and thoughts, it’s clear, however, Hepworth didn’t really understand either mental illness or how they manifest in real life. She probably saw a list of criteria and decided they fit, or she read the criteria and wrote the character with her limited understanding. (This is why there’s a need for sensitivity readers and/or own voices authors.)

Even though Hepworth’s diagnosis isn’t definite (“possible”), it does perpetuate the stigma associated with BPD, an already very stigmatized disorder. People with BPD are often perceived as being violent. This comes from one of the possible diagnosis criteria of having, and maybe a hard time controlling, irrational anger. Some people present anger outward in the form of yelling, screaming, throwing things, etc. Others, like me, present anger inward by directing the emotion at ourselves. (I rarely present anger outward.) When people with BPD act on violent urges, it’s normally in the form of self-harm or suicidal ideation. Of course, some of the people who present anger outward may also be violent against others. BPD, though, usually isn’t the actual cause of that kind of violence. BPD’s often diagnosed with other disorders. The most common are mood, eating, and substance abuse disorders. The combined presentations of these disorders MAY create a perfect storm of having and acting on outward violent urges.

Having BPD simply means that our emotions are more extreme than the general population. The difference between BPD and Bipolar Disorder is the duration of the highs and lows. BPD’s are shorter (i.e., minutes, hours, possibly days) than Bipolar’s (i.e., days, weeks, possibly months). Regulating our emotions is much more difficult with the extremes, which is why we often come across as whiny, needy, petty, or having a thin skin. Learning very specific coping skills in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is crucial for our well-being. *steps off soapbox*

Needless to say, we had a very interesting discussion about mental illness, BPD, neurodivergence, and society’s role in how we perceive and treat those with mental illness. It was very affirming to receive validation instead of the “you’re too sensitive about this” reaction.

I wish I could report on everything we discussed. Due to the nature of a psychological thriller, however, I can’t report on all the details without spoiling you. Hopefully, I’ve done a good enough job to make this post interesting and still let you experience THE GOOD SISTER on your own if you want to read it.

Next month, we’re reading FEED by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire). I’ve been anticipating this book ever since someone nominated it as a possible book for book club. I’ve heard mixed reviews, but they’ve been generally positive.

Anyway, have you read THE GOOD SISTER? If so, what do you think about my book club’s discussion about it?

The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things received.
Feeling

I’m feeling exhausted and a little more like myself. (I expound on my exhaustion in a couple of sections below.) As far as the second bit, I had a really good talk with my therapist about how PTSD therapy’s affecting me. He reminded me about a couple skills I learned in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that I don’t use very often. I tried using them during some of my exposure sessions and they helped me cope with the ups and downs of my emotions.

Blogging

This week on the blog:

I really enjoyed and looked forward to participating in more Let’s Talk Bookish discussions, but I’m a bit disappointed that the host isn’t very consistent in posting each week. And, she doesn’t use a linky so the participants can’t visit and read each other’s posts.

Reading

I’m still reading WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING by Delia Owens. I haven’t made much progress because I’ve been spending most of my reading time working on my blog design update. I’m planning to spend more time reading this week.

I’m about 75% of the way through the HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS audiobook. As I stated in my Book Blogger Hop post, it’s been helping me calm down after my exposure sessions.

I learned in DBT that life is full of dialectics, or two opposing truths. In this case, the two opposing truths are: 1) I don’t agree with JKR’s stance regarding trans people, and 2) I still love Harry Potter.

Listening

As some of you know, I enjoy listening to K-pop. My friend Suey (It’s All About Books) often sends me new songs and music to listen to. It’s fun discovering new bands to listen to when I’m in the mood.

Anyway, at book club this past Wednesday, she introduced me to Psy’s music video for his new song “That That.” I’d listened to the song before; I’d just never watched the video. For those in the know, he’s joined by Suga (BTS) about halfway through.

Watching

Corey and I saw SEE HOW THEY RUN this week and it was so much fun. The comedic timing was perfect. The writing was so creative and funny and the actors and characters were fantastic. We want to see it again to catch all the things we may have missed the first time around.

The actress who portrayed Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies was in SEE HOW THEY RUN. She has such a unique voice that I recognized her immediately. Every time she spoke, I’d think of my favorite line from Myrtle: “Harry, if you die down there, you’re welcome to share my toilet.”

Loving

I loved our discussion at book club this week. We read THE GOOD SISTER by Sally Hepworth and it generated a lot of awesome thoughts on mental health, neurodivergence, and psychological thrillers in general. I’ll be posting my recap tomorrow if you’re interested in that at all.

I also loved going out to lunch with a friend this week. We were in the same DBT group. I started a few months before her. She graduated this week so we celebrated. We’re going to try to have a lunch date every month.

Wanting

I want to spend the day in bed listening to the rest of the HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS audiobook.

Needing

I need to chill today. Yesterday was a hard day. I went to my great-nephew’s birthday party as part of PTSD therapy. (I usually avoid family events.) It was the first time seeing any of my family since my dad’s funeral in December 2020. I’m glad I went and I’m spent. My emotions were pretty intense for most of the day.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen?

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme that was originally created and hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books in March 2010. As of February 2013, it’s hosted by Billy at Coffee Addicted Writer. The aim of the blog hop is to provide bloggers with an opportunity to follow other blogs, discover new books, make friends, and gain new followers.
Today’s Question(s) is …

Have you ever reread a book? If so, why did you decide to reread it?

My Answer(s) is …

Um. This is such a strange question to me. I know there are readers who don’t like to reread, and I’m pretty sure they’ve still reread at least one book. I could totally be wrong, though. Maybe I’m overthinking this question a bit. This doesn’t bode well for future posts.

You’ve probably already guessed my answer. And, if you read my blog regularly, then you’ll definitely know my answer. Yes, I’ve reread a book. I’ve reread many books. There are some series I make a priority to reread every three or four years. This includes Harry Potter, Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Hunger Games, Graceling, and a few YA and adult stand-alones. Each year, an average of 33% of the books I read are rereads. So far this year, I’ve read 28 books and 8 of them were rereads.

Even though there are over 1500 books on my TBR, I need to reread some of my favorite stories. I love revisiting my favorite fictional places and spending time with my favorite characters. Every book I rate between 4 and 5 stars are ones I’d consider reading again. I actually only give a book 5 stars if:

  1. I want to reread it.
  2. It makes me feel happy in some way.

I’ll reread a book if it fulfills a requirement for a challenge. I’ll reread to participate in a read-along, like I did with The Chronicles of Narnia this year. And, I reread for my mental health.

Trigger warning. Only continue reading if you’re in a good space. Those who read my blog regularly know I deal with a few different mental illnesses: Borderline Personality Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. Because of these disorders, suicidal ideation is something I struggle with almost weekly. Most of the time, my ideation is between a 1 and 2 (out of 5). This means I have fleeting thoughts and maybe a fleeting plan when it’s closer to a 2. Every now and then, my ideation gets to one of the higher numbers. I’ve been at a 5 (acting on the urge) five times in my life. Fortunately, I’m still alive.

When I’m at skills breakdown, for me that’s an ideation between a 4 and 5, it’s harder to access and use the skills I learned in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that help me get out of crisis. When my ideation is that high, the most effective skill for me is ice diving. This gets me to a point where I can do other distress tolerance skills. The ones that help me the most are distraction and self-soothing. THIS is where rereading comes in.

I distract with activities, emotions, and/or thoughts AND I self-soothe with hearing by listening to a familiar audiobook, one that I know will help me regulate my emotions. The Harry Potter audiobooks work the best for me because I adore every single character, the arc of Harry’s journey, and the wizarding world in general. When I have a hard time thinking clearly, I can feel calmer and more rational after listening to a chapter or two. At that point, I can use other emotion regulation skills to get me into a more stable place.

Anyway, now that you know more about me than you could possibly ever want to know, what about you? Do you like to reread books or focus on reading new ones?

I learned in DBT that life is full of dialectics, or two opposing truths. In this case, the two opposing truths are: 1) I don’t agree with JKR’s stance regarding trans people, and 2) I still AND will always love Harry Potter.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Books on My Fall 2022 TBR

This week’s prompt is the yearly “Books on My Fall 2022 TBR.” I may plan to read specific books during the next three months because they fit a challenge, they’re for book club, or I just want to read them. Whether I stick to my plan is all dependent on my mood. I can’t force myself to read something I’m not in the mood to read. It’s still fun to make a list, though. Here are ten books I might read this fall, mood permitting:

I’m most excited to read A FIRE ENDLESS by Rebecca Ross, but it doesn’t come out until December 6. Until then, I have a lot of other awesome books to look forward to reading.

What about you? Which books are on your fall TBR? Do we have any in common?