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What's In My To Be Read (TBR) Pile! Vol. 2

That Weird Girl Life
You know the old saying: when one book closes, another opens. Okay, yes, I know that that's not a real saying, but honestly, it should be one in the bookworm community. Because there's always another book to read after you finish reading your current one. Especially if books just keep magically appearing (aka you keep buying them) in your to be read pile, like mine do. (Funny how that keeps happening, huh?) I myself can never say that I literally have nothing to read, because if I did, my TBR pile would come to life and punish me with paper cuts for never reading them and for getting their jackets all dusty and cat furry (which honestly is my cat's fault for shedding so much. And it's probably also a little bit my fault for not dusting as often as I should. I hate dusting). Speaking of books that are silently judging me for not reading them in a timely manner, let's look at all of the new unread books that are joining my older passive aggressive unread books on my book shelves! Enjoy!

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Harper Collins
How Long Has It Been In My TBR Pile? Not that long. My older sister let me borrow it, since it's one of her favorites books, plus it's a classic that I've never read before (I really need to start reading more of the classics!)
Why Is It Still In My TBR Pile? Because other books are calling my name! It's not Rebecca's fault!
When Will I Get Around To Reading It? Soon, I hope. Even though I know the twist since when I was younger I saw the PBS adaptation on TV many many years ago. But hopefully the book will still wow me even if I kind of sort of remember the ending.

The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy, The Shocking Inside Story by Ann Rule
Pocket Books
How Long Has It Been In My TBR Pile? Just since around my birthday in February (Thanks, Barnes & Noble gift card!)
Why Is It Still In My TBR Pile? As much as I love morbid things, I feel like you have to be in the right mood to read about a sadistic sociopath serial killer (just me?)
When Will I Get Around To Reading It? Probably soon, since I love dark and disturbing things and this book definitely sounds like it'll be especially dark and disturbing! I mean, Ann Rule volunteered with Ted Bundy and considered him a friend! That gives me chills just thinking about being that close to a serial killer and NOT KNOWING.

We Hear the Dead by Dianne K. Salerni
Sourcebooks Fire
How Long Has It Been In My TBR Pile? Actually, not too long. I found it at a used bookstore around Easter and instantly bought it when I learned it was a historical fiction take on the Fox sisters (early Spiritualists in the 1800's who may or may not have been faked being able to contact spirits. Look it up, it's fascinating!)
Why Is It Still In My TBR Pile? I don't know...I love historical fiction and anything involving the paranormal so why haven't I read it yet??
When Will I Get Around To Reading It? Soon-ish....? I hope. Knock on wood like the Fox sisters supposedly did to contact the spirits? (That was a stretch!)

The Run of His Life: The People V. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin
Random House Trade Paperbacks
How Long Has It Been In My TBR Pile? The same sister who lent me Rebecca also lent me this. Everyone in my family has just watched the tv series The People vs. OJ Simpson and we were all obsessed so my sister was the one to buy this book the series was based on. I was really young when the OJ Simpson trial happened so I find the whole thing so interesting.
Why Is It Still In My TBR Pile? Like a lot of true crime books, I feel like you have to be in the right mood to read something so morbid and sad. (Because OJ totally did it. Right?)
When Will I Get Around To Reading It? Sometime in the future. Probably when I'm feeling up for trying to understand the American legal system (which I probably never will and is why I'm not pursuing a legal career).

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books
How Long Has It Been In My TBR Pile? For a little while. My other older sister (I have two!) lent this to me saying it was a fun, literary read that I would enjoy. I honestly just took it without reading the description on the back so when I do read it, it will be a complete surprise!
Why Is It Still In My TBR Pile? I honestly forgot I had it until I was looking through my TBR pile to make this post! Oops! But now that I remember I'll make sure to read it. You know, after I read all of these other books...
When Will I Get Around to Reading It? See above question. I swear, I'll get around to reading it and then finally returning it to my sister!

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press
How Long Has It Been In My TBR Pile? Not for too long! I worked an estate sale a few weeks ago and found this classic in a small pile of books (which I immediately foraged through once I found it!). I've always heard of The Tale of Despereaux but I never read it for some reason. But from what I can see it's a kids book about a mouse and he has a sword (maybe?) so I'm totally down!
Why Is It Still In My TBR Pile? I just got it! Cut me some slack!
When Will I Get Around to Reading It? Probably when I'm in the mood to read about an adorable mouse who hopefully goes on an adventure and like saves a kingdom or something (I only know that the book is about the mouse. Again, going in blind and hopefully being pleasantly surprised!).

What did you think of my newest additions to my TBR list? Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I read first? Am I missing out on reading some really good ones by being a bookworm procrastinator aka getting distracted by new, shiny books? Let me know in the comments!

Stay Weird,

Why I'm Being More Honest About My Mental Health

Phew.... this may be the most personal and hardest things I've ever written.

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to be upfront and honest, for once. Not that I'm not usually upfront and honest, I usually am. About some things. Other things I like to keep to myself. And mental health has always been one of those things.

I had always been taught that mental illness is something that you keep to yourself. There was obviously nothing wrong with having it (mental illness runs in my family so it wasn't exactly too much of a shock when I was first diagnosed as a kid and my family has always been so supportive throughout my life living with my illnesses), it's just that some people aren't always so understanding about the subject matter. And as much as I wanted to believe that what I had been brought up to believe wasn't true, I knew in my heart of hearts that it was, at least during the time when I was a kid and a teen. From awkward silences and blank stares when I tried to bond with my "friends" and tell them about my issues, to more recently guys I've dated bringing it up as a major issue in the relationship, I had to admit that mental illness still had a stigma. But not to some brave individuals.

I've been so inspired by the mental health bloggers that I follow and their honesty when writing about their mental health journeys. It almost shocked me when I first found out about the mental health blogging community. I immediately thought, "they're openly talking about their issues? Like, admitting them? Out loud??" And yes, they were. They were posting blog post updates about their struggles with depression, anxiety, OCD, you name it. And no one was judging them for it. In fact, everyone else who commented on a blog post, or tweeted during a mental health chat, were so encouraging and supportive to one another. Having a mental illness wasn't a taboo, it was just a fact. It was so unlike my own life, where I only talked about my mental health to my doctors and family. I just assumed no one else would understand. But it turns out a lot of people do. 

I've written about anxiety and depression before, but in a hopefully helpful and humorous way. I didn't get super personal about my own struggles with anxiety and depression but I obviously alluded to it. So I may not in fact be the best mental health blogger, but I am trying to help out the community, even in my little, unassuming way.

But now that it's Mental Health Awareness Month, I finally feel like I want to be honest about my own mental illnesses. And while I admire the people who are so open about sharing their issues and stories, I myself only feel comfortable sharing a small amount of my struggles. Maybe because I'm still going through several things currently or maybe it's because I fear the judgement that I've always known (or maybe just imagined) would come along with being open about it, but there are some things that are too painful or even too difficult for me to revisit right now. And I've come to realize that that's perfectly okay. These are my stories to tell, whether I choose to or not.

But I will share some of the things I've been treated for or have gone through (whether officially diagnosed or not). And guys, this is big for me. Like, I rarely share this (for obvious reasons explained above) but I'm doing it now in honor of this fine month of mental health awareness. So, without further ado, here's my list of crazy:

•Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Good ol' OCD. You were my first. Where would I be without you? Happier. I would be HAPPIER)
•Depression (Hello darkness, my old friend)
•Panic disorder (It's supervillian power: Able to pop up at the most inopportune time at the speed of light!)
•Anxiety (It's like having a mini panic attack all. The. TIME. Fun, right??)
•Eating Disorder (Anorexia nervosa, NOS, due to my OCD. I hate it when my mental illnesses gang up against me)
•Emetophobia (Puking is literally the bane of my existence. Literally
•Agoraphobia (You know it's bad when you're too scared to leave the house to go to Target. Target, I say!)
•Trichotillomania (OCD's younger, annoying hair pulling sibling)

I seriously just let out the biggest breath after typing that! What a weight it is off of my shoulders to say it! Mind you, a big, scary weight. It's out there in the world now!

Maybe I'll write about my struggles with them one day, or maybe I won't. But I honestly feel so empowered just admitting what I've gone through and what I'm still going through. I'm still here. Yes, it's severely impacted my life, from finding the right schooling, a good job that I could benefit from rather than become it become a hindrance, and just life in general. But I haven't let my mental illness beat me. I've traveled out of the country, shared adventures with friends, had relationships, all despite sometimes dealing with some pretty intense bouts of mental illness. No, my life isn't perfect and I'm not exactly where I want to be right now, but I'm trying everyday to not let my mental illness run my life (I mean, these disorders have squatted in my brain for so long that's it's kind of tough to kick them out). And I have to believe that these dark periods and thoughts are only temporary, and it'll get better in the future. For me, and for everyone else who is struggling right now.

It's okay to talk about your mental health and it's fine if you'd rather keep it to yourself and select others, rather than sharing it with the world. Both are perfectly acceptable and it's up to the individual person. I just wish that this community existed back when I was a kid/teen and felt so alone, but I'm so so glad it exists now and that anyone can access these awesome communities and resources.

But I think that everyone out there dealing with mental illness or know someone who is struggling can agree that every month, not just May, should always call attention to mental health. So if you want to, share your story, or just show your support in honor of those struggling with mental illness. It's more common than you think and remember, you're not alone! There is always help out there and it will get better ♥

Stay Weird,

Book Recommendation: Introvert Doodles by Maureen "Marzi" Wilson

Adams Media Corporation

Book: Introvert Doodles: An Illustrated Look at Introvert Life in an Extrovert World
Author: Maureen "Marzi" Wilson

Why You Should Read It (In My Humble Opinion):

Introverts unite!

But separately.

And, you know, in our own homes so we don't have to actually interact with each other in person.

Texting or Twitter is probably best. Don't even think about calling me on the phone or FaceTiming me!

I always thought of being an introvert (or what I always thought of myself before I knew about introverts: being shy) as a major hindrance to my life. I never really knew there was a term for what I was, except for the fact that I'd rather be alone, at home, reading a book, than at a party with lots of people surrounding me. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my family and friends, but if I'm at a big gathering, I have to excuse myself every so often just to escape to a quiet room and regroup. I wished that I could be just like everyone else, who always seemed to flourish and come alive when other people were around. It's like they fed off of other people's energy and become more lively, while for me it seemed like being around others sapped my energy and would leave me physically drained for days after. Basically after an evening out, my battery is drained. But when I first found out about introverts (and extroverts, an introvert's polar opposite), I felt like I had finally found my people. There were others out there like me!

It filled me with joy to know that there were other people who would rather stay at home and read (reading IS an adventure!) than go out, are more creative than outgoing, are deep thinkers, and good listeners. I still consider myself shy- but that's sometimes just an easier way of saying I'm an introvert. While I have embraced being an introvert, it does come with its problems. Meeting new people is a lot more challenging and tiring than it would be for an extrovert. Finding a job that can possibly use your introvert personality and creativity can be a pretty difficult search (one I'm currently working on at the moment. Can't this blog just be my job? Ugh!). It seems like just because you embrace who you really are it doesn't make having that quality or personality any easier.

I had never read anything about being an introvert (even though apparently there is some great literature out there, apparently. Uh oh, more books to add to my TBR list? Um, well, okay!), but my sister (also a fellow introvert. Is it genetic??) let me borrow her copy of Introvert Doodles and I have never felt so understood. Maureen "Marzi" Wilson is a talented illustrator and fellow introvert herself. After wondering why she always felt so awkward and out of place (or "backward," in her words) during social interactions, yet felt so relieved and comfy when she was finally back at home reading with her dog, she did some research and found out she was, in fact, an introvert, and everything finally clicked into place. She has now fully accepted her introvert lifestyle and wants to reach out to other introverts like her and tell them via her comics that introverts are awesome!

This book couldn't have been handed to me at a better time. I've been feeling really down about life lately, especially about my lack of people skills. But reading Introvert Doodles has instantly put a smile on my face and reassured me that I'm totally normal because I do a lot of those things that cute little blonde introvert girl does in the book (who I am assuming is based off of Marzi herself) and that so many other introverts do as well! It's so silly and hilarious, and the cartoons are simply drawn but so cute, and the best part is is that I GET IT. I get all of it. Even the most outrageous and ridiculous situations, it's all true. Everything I've felt as an introvert, Marzi has basically illustrated it ALL: Feeling secretly relieved and rejoicing that someone canceled plans? Marzi gets you! Need some introvert reward stickers to look at after you do something brave for the day, like for talking to people and making phone calls? Marzi drew it for you! (And me! You bet I'm going mentally reward myself with those stickers from now on for trying to adult like a normal person) Or how about a cute illustration of relatable animals (Rabbit: skittish when approached. Chameleon: blends into surroundings)? Marzi's got you covered!

Introvert Doodles is a fun and funny way of viewing what an introvert goes through everyday, without being mean towards introverts or even extroverts who may not understand. It's a must read book for introverts (in my opinion), just so you can remind yourself that, yes, there are people out there just like you, going through the exact same things. Plus it's absolutely full of adorable and oh so relatable cartoons illustrating your struggles as an introvert, in almost any situation you can imagine. So buy a copy for your introverted self, give copies to your introverted friends (because you know exactly what they go through every dang day) and heck, buy a few copies for your friends who are extroverts, so they can know what goes on in your day to day life- and so they know that it doesn't offend us if you cancel plans with us. It just means we get to get into our PJ's, snuggle with our furry pet, and watch Netflix all wrapped up in a blanket on the couch like a human burrito. So really, we should be thanking you for canceling our plans and making our night!

I think it's safe to say that I'm buying myself a copy of Introvert Doodles and will be rereading it whenever I need that introvert pick me up. Thank you, Marzi, for writing and illustrating a lovely little book about all the struggles- and joys- of being an introvert! I'd love to meet you someday- but you know, we can skip the actual human interaction for a Twitter exchange. I think that might be preferable for both of us! ♥

Stay Weird,

Buy a copy of Marzi's book, then grab some chocolate, a blanket, your furry pet, get cozy in a comfy chair and feel that kinship with the other introverts in the world. But, you know- by yourself. I'm an introvert, I totally understand 😘