64 Books in 52 Weeks

This year has been a journey, a long and difficult one. As I worked on my goal of fifty-two books, I documented them in hopes to meet and surpass my challenge. My final book count is 64 with a page count of over 12,000 according to Goodreads.

Here is my full list!

1.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Tao Lin

  1. Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov
  2. bone by Yrsa Daley Ward
  3. Zimbabwe by Tapiwa Mugabe
  4. Strong Looks Better Naked by Khloe Kardashian
  5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  6. Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
  7. All Gone by Alex Witchel
  8. The Art of Sleeping Alone by Sophie Fontanel
  9. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  10. You Don’t Have to Like Me by Alida Nugent
  11. How to be a Bad Bitch by Amber Rose
  12. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  13. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
  14. Like the Singing Coming Off the Drums by Sonia Sanchez
  15. All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou
  16. They Can’t Take That Away From Me by Gail Mazur
  17.  Raising Confident Girls by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer
  18. Slouching Toward Nirvana by Charles Bukowski
  19. The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  20. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
  21. Poetry With Teeth by Isabella Brooks
  22. Me, My Hair, and I by Elizabeth Benedict
  23. How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel
  24. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
  25. Celestial Bodies in Orbit by Eve Littlepage
  26. The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur
  27. I’m Supposed to Protect You from All This by Nadja Spiegelman
  28. Here be Monsters by Colin Cheney
  29. Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray
  30. Blackish-Grey by Devyn Springer
  31. Love and the Eye by Laura Newbern
  32. Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara
  33. The Dogs I Have Kissed by Trista Mateer
  34. The Best American Essays 2015 edited by Ariel Levy
  35. Islam and the Future of Tolerance by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz
  36. Earth by Cecilia Woloch
  37. Coming Clean by Kimberly Rae Miller
  38. Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey
  39. Small Ghost by Trista Mateer
  40. All Night it is Morning by Andy Young
  41. The Chaos of Longing by K. Y. Robinson
  42. Emotional Rescue by Ben Greenman
  43. Rhyme and Rebellion by Harry Whitewolf
  44. Blood Don’t Lie by Aaron Levy
  45. Kinky by Denise Duhamel
  46. The All-American Poem by Matthew Dickman
  47. The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
  48. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  49. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
  50. Stygian by Sean Michael
  51. The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison
  52. Honeybee by Trista Mateer
  53. Faithful by Alice Hoffman
  54. A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry edited by Czesław Miłosz
  55. The Power of Meaning: Crafting a LIfe that Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith
  56. Fat Like the Sun by Anna Swir, translated by Grazyna Baran and Margaret Marshment
  57. She’s Not Herself by Linda Appleman Shapiro
  58. In-Between Time by Teva Harrison
  59. Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
  60. Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou
  61. Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb
  62. Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction (Since 1970)
    64.Collected Poems (1912-1944) by H.D.

That’s a lot of books and in turn a lot of reading, a lot of learning, and luckily some of it was feminist in nature. I needed this reason to learn; starting off this year as a college graduate was difficult, a lot wasn’t going my way for the first few months, and this challenge gave me something to look forward to. This blog became a driving force, something to work on, and in turn became something that I’m extremely proud of.

Aside from building my reading repertoire, I’ve completed my first semester of graduate school! So far I’ve got a 4.0 GPA and I have seven poems being published sometime soon. I had hoped to write a few articles, though I haven’t given it enough conscious effort to be disappointed in myself. Perhaps that’s a goal for next year…

My post count for the year is 99,

My follower count is 29,

My reading goal for next year is 52 books,

and my happiness level is a 10/10.

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Self Improvement Roundup 2016

I know it’s a bit early, but I’ve decided to go ahead and dedicate the rest of the year to other genres, I feel content with the amount of Self-Help I’ve read this year. In an effort to avoid posting ten things on NYE, I’m getting this up now.

I wanted to round-up my Self-Help/Personal Growth genre and give a little bit of feedback on what I’ve learned this year. I’ve previously reviewed all of these books, as they were part of my 52 week challenge, so you can look for those in the archives if you’re interested. They’re listed in the order that they appeared on the blog.

  • Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov
    • What I learned: The hope for a book about dating that doesn’t rely on gender stereotypes and weird sexism is not futile, though I am 99% sure that when I do find that book, the word “Bitch” will not be in the title.
  • Strong Looks Better Naked by Khloe Kardashian
    • What I learned: Kris Jenner likes Belvedere vodka. Khloe Kardashian likes to work out.
  • How to be a Bad Bitch by Amber Rose
    • What I learned: Never listen to the people putting you down, especially when they’re slut-shamers and assholes.
  • Raising Confident Girls by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer
    • What I learned: We, as a society, owe it to girls to instill them with self-worth and self-love from an early age. It is not something that comes naturally for most of us, as a woman and a sister, I need to do my part.
  • Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
    • What I learned: To say “yes” to the scary stuff, it often benefits us more than we can comprehend.
  • The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith
    • What I learned: There’s no use in searching for a blanket of surface-level happiness – meaning will always be worth more in the long-run.

I thoroughly enjoyed trying to improve myself this year, though I can promise you, a few of these books were little help in the venture. I found several, especially Rose, Rhimes, and Smith’s books, to be quite insightful. They’re three that I may revisit in the future. If I had to list my least favorites, Argov and Kardashian are a close tie.

Expect a post on New Year’s Eve encompassing all of my reading for the year! Cheers this holiday season, I hope you’re all finding your own happiness.

Update on the Baker’s Dozen

I posted A Baker’s Dozen Reviews to Look Forward to back in March, and I hate to admit that I haven’t finished the list just yet! Here’s my progress so far:

  • Read:
    How to be a Bad Bitch by Amber Rose
    The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
    Raising Confident Girls by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer
    Me, My Hair, and I edited by Elizabeth Benedict

I’ve actually loved all of the books that I’ve read off of this list so far, which is impressive! Yet another reason to pick back up on this list.

  • Unread:
    Bossypants by Tina Fey
    What You Really Really Want by Jaclyn Friedman
    An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
    Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
    In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens by Alice Walker
    Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
    The Rose that Grew from Concrete by Tupac Shakur
    This is Chick Lit edited by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
    This is Not Chick Lit edited by Elizabeth Merrick

Damn, I’m batting 4:9… not my best work by far. I do look forward to quite a few of these. What with them all being in my possession, I have no real reason not to plunge headfirst into my list, but I won’t lie to y’all. I’m not going to go straight through this list, though I will get through it this year at some point.

Happy reading,
Scarlett Peterson

Goodreads Giveaways

This morning I woke up to an exciting email… I won a Goodreads.com book giveaway! 

 
I’m pretty excited to read this memoir about mothers and daughters, and I love that I won something in my favorite genre! It’s not everyday that you win a giveaway, so I’m sitting here happily thinking about the now four books that are headed my way in the mail. It’s a happy, happy thing. 

The Great Bookshelf Thinning of 2016

I’m in a writing mood, so I’ve decided to finish up a second post for the day! Hopefully it finds you well.

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I’m a hoarder. A book hoarder. I hoard books like I’ve got nothing but reading time. When I walk into a used book store and leave with five books, I’m having an off day. When I leave with ten I’m on my game. Free books? YES. Bargain books? YES. Giving books away? NO.

Until… I realized how little use many of the books on my shelf would be to me in the long run. When I don’t like a book i typically have no trouble giving it away, getting rid of it through sell-back, etc. But when I love a book I hold onto it for seemingly no reason, because since middle school, I’ve rarely if ever re-read much of anything. Recently, as I mentioned in one of my last few reviews, I started passing books along to my best friend, and getting them passed on to me in return. This exchange is not something that I’d previously been down for; when people offered to loan me books I’d always said no, I didn’t want to have to give them back. She’s certainly helped me get out of that habit, and I’m happy to be passing on the books that I’ve enjoyed.

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I was happy enough with handing off a five book stack to Carlynn that I decided to do a purge and pass along quite a few books to strangers. Almost exclusively books that I truly enjoyed, though several weren’t my faves. I briefly considered selling them at a local used book store, but quickly rethought it thanks to the many free book bins I’ve found myself taking from in the past. I decided to pack a box and set it somewhere fitting, somewhere that people might be in need of distraction (aka a damn good book). I put the box pictured above as well as several romance novels that my Nana wanted to pass along in a deserving spot and wrote “Free Books,” on the side and promptly left.

I’m pretty pleased with myself for mustering up the capacity to get rid of books. The only time in the past that I’ve done such was when I was trying desperately to afford a second study abroad trip (I failed and mourned the books terribly). Now I’m just happily hoping that the books fall into hands that love them like I did.

Also; I submitted a chapbook for publication since it’s open submissions for Black Lawrence Press this month. It’ll be a while before I find out, but on the upside, I’ve got two chapbooks coming from them for the submission fee. Who doesn’t love (sort of) free books?

I’m also super excited to say that thanks to Femsplainer’s daily (M-F) emails, I was able to find the add that Eve Littlepage listed and will be reviewing her memoir, Celestial Bodies in Orbit: Memoirs of the Unknown Stripper as soon as it comes in the mail. Oh the joys of a strong feminist community, my heart is so full!

Happy reading,
Scarlett

Travel Reading and Housekeeping 

Consider this a late, much needed housekeeping post. As you’ve potentially notices, I haven’t been posting twice a week as I previously decided. Life has caught up with me, and unfortunately posting that regularly isn’t something that I can feasibly do. With grad school coming up in the fall and makeup gigs popping up every so often, I can’t dedicate quite as much time to blogging as I have been. I need to dedicate a great deal of my time to drafting poetry and CNF for the fall in preparation for my workshop classes, and I need to deal with everyday life. 
Instead of nixing the blog altogether, I’ll continue posting book reviews and occasional concept pieces. Book reviews will come roughly once a week, not on any set day. I’ll be reviewing books as I finish them. Having a set day to post reviews has become a bit of a drag, in that I often found myself rushing through the end of books and feeling like reading was more of a task than a pleasure. 
I’m currently headed to Alabama to visit family, and I’ve packed three books for reading on the trip (my Grandmother doesn’t trust my driving, so I’m the designated passenger). I doubt that I’ll finish more than one, if I make enough time to finish one at all, but I like to pack extras just in case.  

  

I’ve packed the book that I’m currently reading, The Bean Trees, as well as two that a friend passed along, The Bridges of Madison County, and Americana. I’m pleased to be reading a Kingsolver novel, and I’m already enjoying her setting and characterization. 

I’ll be back when I’ve finished it up with what I’m sure will be a sparkling review! 
Happy reading,

Scarlett

On Freelancing and Life After Undergrad

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the job market is ROUGH. Freelancing is a hustle, whether it be writing, makeup, or whatever. I’m having (exponentially) more luck with my freelance MUA work than I am with my writing (though I have two prospective jobs in the works that sound very promising and offer good stability. Those jobs would be continuous blogging, something that I (clearly) enjoy; both companies that I’ve spoken with are companies that I support and would love to work with.

Potential FAQ: Why freelance? My answer is this; I freelance write and do freelance makeup work because I love both of those respective trades, and freelancing gives me the opportunity to accept or turn down gigs as I go. I can continue freelancing with a day job, I can continue freelancing when a day job isn’t an option (in grad school), etc.

That being said, I’d like to discuss some things I’ve learned from freelancing so far.

  • People will flake on you.
    • Free photoshoot, free makeup, over a month of notice and planning; I still had more flakes than follow-throughs.
    • Free work is necessary to make a name for yourself, but it can be a real hassle trying to get feature articles published, getting models (or friends) to show up, etc.
  • You HAVE to network (your ass off).
    • Working for a company you’ve already got resources for days. Freelancing? You have no audience, no resources, etc. without busting ass to network.
    • Networking platforms like LinkedIn are the shit; accept all of the connection requests, reconnect with EVERYONE, and include everything you’ve ever done in your life (aside from those misdemeanors and speeding tickets).
  • Success almost never comes immediately.
    • Networking takes time.
    • You’re talented, but you’re new.
    • There’s a lot of other talent out there.
  • You’ll likely need another job while you’re starting out.
    • On one hand, you need to dedicate oodles of time to your freelance networking and pitching, on the other hand, you can’t network without having the cash to pay your internet bill.
  • You won’t be able to depend on every job inquiry to follow through.
    • Even if you’re pricing is really low, even if you’ve spoken to the potential client several times, there’s always the chance that they won’t hire you.
    • This sucks. This will always suck. It will also always be a possibility.
  • You will lose your patience. People might lose their patience with you.
    • A. You’ll lose your patience with people who don’t follow through, etc.
    • B. Your friends/family might lose their patience with your self-promotion, inability to afford extravagances, etc.
    • C. You will lose your patience with yourself. That’s the hardest part.
  • You are selling your service, you need to try to brand yourself.
    • My current potential gigs where writing is concerned both deal with blogging. I have more content available for my audience on this blog, therefor that is how people view me; as a blogger. My makeup portfolio is mostly full of glam looks, some avant garde sneaking its way in as I progress; mainly I market myself as a special event MUA; ie. prom, wedding, or photoshoot looks.
    • Selling yourself is fine. Incorporating your personality into your work is necessary. Writing and makeup both allow me to do that; my personal blog gives me plenty of room to incorporate my life, my experiences, and my opinions. My makeup career taking place (in part) on social media means that my personality is, again, unavoidable. This doesn’t mean that you have to have the highest level of self confidence on earth, it simply means that you have to try and sell yourself well.
    • The more unique you are, the better.
  • You need to work out a schedule / be VERY reliable.
    • This past Friday I missed my first scheduled content date without updating my audience ahead of time. Don’t be like me. My Tuesday and Friday scheduling is that way for a reason; when a job comes up, one of the first things your potential client is going to ask you about is your scheduling. Being able to provide evidence of your timeliness and reliability is key to landing jobs.
    • DO NOT OVERBOOK. If you’re rushing, you’re probably not producing quality content. Your career is not English 1101, you cannot bullshit your way through this career.
  • Expect rough patches, dry spells, and otherwise sucky times.
    • Consider retail’s sale fluctuations in December and January; you’ve got MASSIVE jumps in sales right before the holidays, enough to necessitate the hiring of seasonal workers in most cases. Come January, the stores are virtually a ghost-town, seasonal employees are either taking inventory or already being let go, and some regular employees are receiving far fewer hours than before. Companies avoid closing their doors during this period by planning ahead. You may have an excellent April, but if you don’t have a gig for the first two weeks in May, it’s going to sting. When your income juts up, hold the reins and make sure that you’re stable enough afterwards for a good long while before you blow your stack on a new Macbook and ten liquid lipsticks from Sephora.
  • Post-Everywhere platforms are your friend in the blogging sphere.
    • WordPress is my friend; when I publish a new blog post, it automatically shares my post to Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter, and more.
    • Social media is your best friend in branding and networking.
  • Be patient.
    • With yourself.
    • With your career.
    • With your creativity.
    • With your whole freaking life.

Freelancing sounds a lot like being unemployed, doesn’t it? It feels that way during the lulls. I’m writing this during a lull, waiting to hear back from two excellent prospects, and i can honestly say that though I’m struggling, it will be rewarding in the future. Writing and makeup are two things that I absolutely love, and I’m sticking with them until I get to where I’m going.