Blogging: Why I Love It

As it’s the beginning of a new year, I’ve decided to write a quick post again just about why I love to blog! Because when I started Zoie’s Bookshelf more than a year ago, I didn’t expect there to be this whole blogging community out there, full of supportive people who simply love to blog. Their energy is so contagious too- if I read a post of someone’s that seems so full of passion and excitement, it just makes me want to write a post of the same enthusiasm!

But besides that, I love blogging because it’s a chance for me to chat to all my readers about my latest reads, share my thoughts with a book review, and yes, even fangirl over other YA novels *insert me raising my hand guility here* 😉

Zoie’s Bookshelf is not just a base I use to do all these things, but a place where I can also connect with other readers, or just people interested in what I have to say.

Blogging gives me a chance to do this, to connect with all these people, all the while writing about something I love.

It’s truly an amazing thing.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support and check out Zoie’s Bookshelf. You are all the people I am here to write for! ❤

And, just because this is a book blog, I’ll sign out with a book quote, one that is definitely true:

Between the pages of a book is a wonderful place to be.

The Reality Which is Life

I have always loved summer, because it meant so much free time to READ. But I found out the hard way that sometimes, summer vacation could also get in the way of reading, just because it has so many plans for you. So while I was hoping to read more books this month, I also don’t regret all the fun stuff I’ve done so far. While reading gives you an escape to immerse yourself in the life of someone else, living your own life can be pretty exciting too, such as trying new things to keep it interesting, or engaging yourself in old traditions that you love.

Okay, okay, I know. What am I saying? I’m a book-lover, completely pro-books. All for the usual excuses you make so that you can spend time reading instead of doing this or that. But you know what? I’m also a writer, or at least, hoping to become one. And I once heard an author say that if you have the chance to go on an adventure or write, always choose the adventure, because that will give you something to write about later. And it’s true- just this summer I’ve been inspired to write so many things! This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t put down my book for once and took a leap, into the place that is called reality.

What I guess I’m really trying to say is, don’t be afraid to shoot for an adventure, even if it means putting your reading aside. These books will always be there when you come back, will always be there to keep you company like any great novel should. But right now, it’s okay to venture out into the world, even if your outing is just going swimming with a friend, or having a barbeque with your family. There is so much you’ll miss if you have your nose stuck in a book all your life- all the precious memories, and the days you will never get back. It’s all about connecting, and reaching out to one another. Yes, books are a huge part of my life, a part I’m truly thankful for, but so are my family and friends, and the moments they give me when I give them back.

I hope you all have a great summer! Remember to enjoy all you are so privileged to receive these few months, and to cherish the company and life all around you.

Cheers to happy reading and wonderful adventures!

Zoie 🙂

Reading and Blogging

Why do I do what I do?

By that, I mean, why do I bother having this blog, when I could be using those precious moments it takes to write and upload a post for other things… reading, per se? Well, it’s not as simple as that.

I love to blog. I love how maybe somewhere in the world, someone is reading an entry I have written, and is taking something away from that. Perhaps they read a review and thought “Hmmm, maybe I should check that book out.” Maybe it’s just that they like the idea that there are readers out there, in a place where technology is rapidly advancing and all people seem to be attached to one device or another. I mean, the thought is quite astonishing, actually, when you think about all the technology we have offered to us, and still some choose to snuggle up with a paperback book instead.

I blog because I like to inform people about the wonders that are out there, even if they are hidden away in the back shelves of old bookstores. More often than not, though, you’ll find me reviewing a very popular YA novel, which I assume would not be found on the back shelves. But it’s needless to say, it’s fun to blog about something I enjoy doing, and that’s reading. If I am able to get one of my readers to pick up a book that I have recommended, I have done my job as an advisor, as well as a blogger. Becuase really, that’s what it’s all about. If I am able to impact you in any way, I have succeeded as a book enthusiast.

And why should one even want to love books? Well, here’s my reasoning:

It’s a little escape, if only for a couple hundred of pages. You get to live the life of another character, follow their story, and watch them as they progress and grow as a character. Because here’s something lots of people don’t seem to understand- books are not movies. These characters have problems just like us, some that we can even relate to. It’s relieving to find that you’re not alone on that point, that you can see the book out to the end to find out how they deal with their problems. Books aren’t just ‘she did this and he said that, and they lived happily ever after’. If that were the case, the story would take you no time at all to read! No, there’s a reason there are so many pages between the beginning and the end. There’s conflict, and drama, and everything that comes with it. And if you find yourself becoming immersed with the story, well, that’s okay too. It’s the reason they’re there for- to take you on a journey, word by word, until it has intrigued you enough that you can’t seem to ever put it down.

So yes, that’s why I do what I do.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands

-Neil Gaiman

Thanks for all those who continue to read and support this blog! You are the ones I hope to inspire ❤

Your bookworm blogger,

Zoie 😉

Sarah Dessen… and Me

Hey everyone! I’m really excited to share with you my review on Sarah Dessen’s “The Truth About Forever.” But that will have to wait a day or two or more. Because I’ve realized I haven’t really talked much about Sarah Dessen on here, or my writing. If you’ve been reading my monthly book lists, you can clearly tell how much of her books I have been reading ever since I discovered What Happened to Goodbye in my school library. She has so far written a total of twelve young adult novels, in which I have managed to hunt down and read all of. (Yeah!)

*Pats self on back*

I’ll update you all with an overview of my thoughts on them soon, as well as which I strongly recommend. Before I post my review though, let me first tell you how special Sarah Dessen is as an author and what she has done for me as a reader. It was in November 2014- not so long ago- that I begun to read Sarah Dessen’s work. And all of her narrators- Mclean, Auden, Sydney, Macy, to name a few- seemed to speak to me, their worlds and problems recurring in my mind. It was Sarah Dessen who made me push my expectations of myself as a writer and reader to further venture into the world of YA, as well as try writing for it. I never imagined myself writing in this realistic fiction style, because when I thought about my writing, it was Harry Potter-like.

Recently I attended the fifteenth annual Rochester Teen Book Festival. The main reason- Sarah Dessen would be there! I went to hear her speak alongside Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay. (Ally Condie was at the festival as well, author of Atlantia and the Matched trilogy). When they were accepting questions, I kept quiet; an observer rather than a presenter. I silently let others ask questions and listened to their answers. One person asked Sarah and Gayle what type of books they liked to read. And this surprised me: They both agreed that they weren’t huge fans of fantasy novels. But then Sarah went on to say that she had complete respect for fantasy writers, because not only did they have to create up a whole new world, but then had to write a story and plot into that setting. She said that it was like she was cheating, because she could just set her stories into a world she already knew, which is why her books are classified as Young Adult and Realistic Fiction.

It got me thinking. Maybe, I was just going to big too soon. It’s not to say I could never write a story in a fantastical world, because it’s possible. But for now, perhaps I’d better begin with what’s familiar. My world. This world. So I ditched my last document in return for a clean slate. Don’t worry- I wasn’t too far into it anyhow. But I have to say, this new story is really getting me excited. I can feel myself coming up with lines that just seem to click, in the way that suggests I am finally doing something right. I can feel myself laughing at my own work, which is either great or a bit sad, I haven’t decided yet. But either way, I can sense a breakthrough in my writing, one that is telling me I’m doing it, oh my goodness I’m doing it!

So yes, there was a huge influence on that behalf, and it was Sarah Dessen. Without her books and her words and that book festival, would I have discovered my inner-writer as its true form? Well, probably. But one thing’s for sure- without Sarah Dessen, it would’ve taken a lot longer to get there.