It's been a long time, I mean a really long time since I either curled up on the sofa, or tucked myself into bed and just lost myself in a book. I've deeply missed the feeling that you get when you become so emotionally invested in a book that you literally can't put it down until it's finished. Your whole days plan goes out the window but sometimes we need those days when we say "fuck it" and throw away the rule book. Lets just say my love affair with reading has definitely been ignited again and its all thanks to these new book releases. So if you are looking for a new read, or if like me you haven't picked up a book in a while, here are those that have recently had me gripped from the very first word.
Ctl, Alt, Delete: How I grew up Online by Emma Gannon
This book is written for "teenagers: past and present," something that we can all relate to. For us "past teenagers" that time in our lives is so full of hormones, awkward firsts and just a lot of confusion that I'm sure the majority of us would rather forget. I know I would. But the way that this book is written is so full of humour and nostalgia that I somehow found myself looking back on those times with nothing but smiles and laughter. I too grew up with the Internet so I couldn't help but LOL to some of the references in the book because unfortunately, even my childhood is a thing of the past now that technology and trends move so fast. I used to laugh at the fact that my parents barely had calculators in their day growing up as kids but they always reminded me that someday everything I knew would too become outdated. They weren't wrong on that one. That someday is today. The good ole days of MSN and listening to music via CD Walkmans is something that I can now only look back on with memories. But the beauty of life is that even though each generation will experience a slightly different environment whilst growing up, the emotions remain the same. At the end of the day, we are all trying to figure out who we are at that age, with most being surrounded by that constant feeling of not fitting in. So if you want a peek into the lives of those of us who grew up in the 90's, then this will give you that insight. FYI, any stories from my teen years however are not quite so adventurous as those told in this book. For those "present teenagers" out there right now, this book is living proof that everything will be ok. Life will always be ok, but it also would be very boring if you didn't have any stories to tell.
The Million Dollar Blog by Natasha Courtenay-Smith
It seems that everyone has a blog these days, don't they? It's pretty much the millennial dream to be either a Blogger, Vlogger or YouTuber. Who wouldn't want to be a bosslady, or bossman? Getting to determine your own working hours, the opportunity to travel, working with brands that you respect and admire. Oh and there's the fact that the earning potential is crazy insane too. So many dream of that moment of sticking two fingers up at the day job and swapping their current lifestyle for total freedom to live life their own way. "Do what you love and love what you do." It's easier said than done, however. The principle of starting a blog is simple and easy to do, you just need to grab and computer and start writing. But it's everything else that comes with it that makes it even harder to maintain - content ideas, driving traffic, utilising social media, creating a community, monetisation, SEO, consistency...the list goes on and on. Most importantly it's about having the confidence to continue, quashing any self-doubt that rears it's ugly head along the way but also leaving procrastination at the door. The latter is definitely something I need to work on for sure, but blogging is all about the journey, something that this book has reminded me of. Essentially a self-help book for bloggers and a guide to navigating this newly established industry, another lesson it has taught me is this: "Never compare your beginning to somebody else's middle or end." Wise words that have definitely resonated with me. For anybody thinking of starting a blog but thinks it's too late, or you may already have one but is doubting your ability to stand out, or for those who are trying to grow their blog but don't know how, then this book can really help you. It's going to talk you through the importance of having a niche and getting your personal branding nailed because these two things are what's going to make you stand out. Packed full of interviews with those that have already found success, it is definitely clear though that there is no one way to succeed in this industry, so the best advice is to just start. We all have to start somewhere. So with tons of motivation included and words of wisdom throughout, I definitely advise you to go back to this book every time you need a pick me up and a reminder of why you embarked on this journey to begin with. The words are so inspiring, motivating and empowering that it's impossible to finish reading without some sort of self-discovery and new found confidence.
Where am I now? by Mara Wilson
Who doesn't love the movie Matilda, right?! But playing this character at such a young age, Mara Wilson became known as "the kid from Matilda" even long after the movie's release. It's sometimes so easy for us an audience to blur the line between actor and character, especially when it's something so iconic and close to our hearts as Matilda - it seems to live on in all of us generation after generation. But it's meant that Mara has had to grow up in a world where she will always be known as Matilda, leaving her longing for people to want to get to know her as Mara, the person she really is. It's weird how we almost forget, or don't even expect child actors to grow up and have a life of their own, simply because no matter what happens IRL, the movies live on forever. Mara Wilson has since traded in Hollywood, and her love of storytelling has led her to New York when she now lives, working as a writer. It's clear from this book just how talented of a writer she is - her wit and intelligence that's way beyond her years, makes for a story so beautifully told. We get a peek into what it's really like to grow up in Hollywood as a child actor and how her perspective has changed now that she has grown into her own, finding a life she truly loves. There's also a very special and emotional chapter devoted to Robin Williams, and having battled mental illness herself, this is something that Mara reflects on with a heavy heart. Every single part of this book is a reminder at just how unique each of our stories are and the true importance of storytelling.