Category Archives: Literature

Is There a ‘Best Way’ to Read?

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Is There a ‘Best Way’ to Read?

Reading is one of life’s great pleasures. This is probably something that you already know; that’s why you’re on this blog! But, is it true that there are right and wrong ways to do it? This probably isn’t so true when it comes to fiction, especially as fiction reading culminates in a very subjective experience. But when it comes to reading nonfiction, there’s certainly a strong argument to be made that there are good ways to read it and bad ways to read it.

How is this possible? Well, it’s worth remembering that nonfiction – aside from the likes of self-help books and autobiographies – exist in order to educate the reader. And there are ways of reading that will help you absorb and retain more information. Most people seem to forget the majority of what they read – which isn’t great if you’re reading non-fiction for a class, right?

We’re going to take a quick look at the best ways to read a nonfiction book!

O.M.G!

Skimming: Some of you may be wondering why the heck “skimming” would be suggested! Isn’t that precisely what you’re supposed to avoid? Well, if you’re skimming the entire book instead of reading it properly, then yes. But if you skim a chapter of a book first, and then read it properly, then you’re giving your brain a head start with the information. Your brain will retain a lot of the basic information and themes from a quicker glance than you might expect.

Never Read Without a Pencil: Don’t be so particular about your books that you’re afraid to take notes in them! You should take the time to write notes about the material in the margin, as well as underline (or draw a line in the margins next to) sections that you feel are especially important. This can also help you take note of parts of the book that you want to investigate further, in case you initially find it a little confusing or even doubt the veracity of the claim.

A million dollars to whoever knows what book that is! 😉

Make an Effort to Memorize: In general, reading is fantastic for exercising your memory. That’s just one of the top 10 reasons why reading is important. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t actually put work into committing something that you read to memory. The simple fact that you’re reading isn’t going to mean that you’ll automatically remember it in the future! The best way to do this is to take what makes memory tick and apply that to reading. Psychologists believe that memory is built from three components: impression, association, and repetition. Apply these to your reading and see how it helps.

#knowledgeispower

Recite or Read Out Loud: Finally, one of the best ways to recall what you’ve read is to speak that information. You could try introducing someone else to that information by telling them about what you’ve read in conversation. Just make sure that you’re with someone with an interest in the given subject! Something else that you can try is simply reading passages out loud. This may seem time-consuming, but it’s effective. You may even want to record yourself reading out loud and listen to the sound file repeatedly instead of listening to music during your reading break.

Featured Image By: Pixabay

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How You Can Include Your Bookcase In Your Spring Cleaning Regime

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How You Can Include Your Bookcase In Your Spring Cleaning Regime

Hi everyone and welcome to the next addition of my Think Spring guest bloggers series brought to you by Christie from Christie Adams Writer. When we are thinking spring, one not so fun thing that inevitably comes to mind is cleaning! Spring cleaning to many is a must, though, so this post from Christie will teach you how to incorporate your book (or CD and movie) shelves into your cleaning to do list. Take a look:

How You Can Include Your Bookcase In Your Spring Cleaning Regime (your excuse to buy more books)

Spring is on its way. Well OK, I admit winter is still hanging around, it seems to get later every year doesn’t it? Anyway, a bit of forward planning never hurt anyone. Spring cleaning your home, cleaning the car, yep, ticked that box? How about reinvigorating your bookcases? I’m not talking a quick whizz over with a feather duster, I’m talking a proper spring clean. If your book collection is a library you may need to break this up a bit, but it’s do-able, honest.

  1. Take a good long look at what you have, then take the books off the shelves:

A good way to ‘see’ things clearly, is to take a photograph or two and put them on one side. You’ll need them later. Taking out the books will probably surprise you. You will find ones you never knew you had. Those beloved sneaky books that have hidden amongst much read favorites. To make it easier and less stressful later on, sort them into two piles:

  1. Keep
  2. Maybe I could let these go

 Don’t know where to start? I try to live by William Morris’

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’.

The focus will be to cut at least 10%, if not more. You may at this stage also find the odd one you really don’t like. It may have been a gift or a bargain bucket buy. If so, create a third pile somewhere out of sight. You can bring them back into the room when you get to stage 3.

WARNING – DO NOT start flicking through the pages, if you do, you are doomed and will never finish the task in hand!

  1. Clean the shelves and fix any loose or broken bits:

Think serious Health & Safety here. Books are HEAVY. If your bookshelves are not safe and securely fastened it could really hurt someone, or worse. Yes, sadly, people have been crushed beneath falling furniture.

http://www.wikihow.com/Secure-a-Bookcase-to-a-Wall

Once they’re safe, fixed, and empty, you need to assess if they are what you want. This is the time to get reinspired. Remember those photographs I told you to put on one side? Now get them out and take a good close look. Be critical, be detached. If you saw those shelves in someone else’s house, would you love them? Aspire to own them? Want to embrace them in a big hug? OK, a bit difficult to imagine but you should understand the sentiment.

This is the time to repaint, rebuild, extend, downsize. You could go truly minimalist/tiny house and choose to let go of it all and move to a fully electronic reading habit. If so, jump ahead to stage 3 in this post.

Happy? All done? Fantastic, now on to the hard work.

(You could swap stages 2 and 3 if it suits you to focus on your collection, rather than your space or furniture.)

  1. Create a collection of loved literature and beloved battered books:

Now this can be a difficult bit, because it’s time to sort out what you want to keep and what you can let go. Go back to your books in those tidy piles (you did leave them tidy didn’t you?) and begin the process according to these guidelines:

Keep – you can look lovingly at this one, smile, then move on to the second pile.

Maybe I could let these go – you need to sort through these and divide them again into three piles:.

  1. Sell – if you have rare books, first editions, signed copies, then do your research. Contact an expert. If you’re lucky you could pay for a new book, a holiday, or your house! Otherwise, garage sales or online auction sites are your friend.
  2. Donate to charity or friends – do you love a book but know you’ll never re-read it? Why not write a hand written ‘no spoiler’ review note and place it in the book before you donate it?
  3. Reuse – note, there is not a ‘bin’ pile. If you do have any books that are truly falling to pieces why not create some book art (get on Pinterest people, it’s amazing what you can do with the pages of an old book). Your local school or art college may take them off your hands. Final option? Recycling center.

If you find it difficult, recruit a book buddy or cleaning companion, offer them a brew and get cracking.

If you have an electronic ebook/audio book copy, do you need the paperback? Do you have books about garden design but now live in a small apartment? Will you ever learn to play the guitar? No? Then sideline the ‘how to’ book.

Fashions change. Technology moves on. Maps and text books get out of date. Learn to let go people! This cleansing can take as long as you need but once you start you’ll be surprised by how easy it is. Make sure it doesn’t drag on, be decisive, and reach or pass that 10% target.

  1. Decide on how you will arrange your ‘new’ beautiful bookcase and beloved book collection:

Now, you’ve done the hard bit. You should have a (slightly?) smaller collection. It’s time to decide how you’ll show them off and care for them. Will you go ‘library style’ and sort by genre then alphabetical? How about color, blue next to purple, red next to pink etc? It can look awesome if you embrace the idea fully.

Do you have truly gorgeous bound books, how about those being at eye level so you truly enjoy the sight of them every day? Kids books? They need to be accessible to little hands. On the alternate side, you need to put ‘valuable’ (I know they all are, but stay with me here) books away from direct sunlight and away from little hands.

Libraries put books on end for a reason, it preserves them and protects them. Make room for them all stood up, not lying flat. You can be as innovative or traditionalist as you like. You can scribble down ideas, draw out detailed plans, or just move books into yet more piles so you can keep track. I’ve got a small section of ‘will read then let go’ books, too.

  1. Fill The Gaps! Now is the time to celebrate the space you’ve created, by filling the spaces with new books:

Yes, you’ve done it! Your new clean and empty shelves are calling out to be filled. Dust off your books and put them back in their newly well planned home. I start with the big books, which may only fit on one of many shelves. Also, that’s often the safest. You recall I told you to fasten the shelves securely, this is important. If the shelves are not secured (WHY NOT!!) always start at the bottom when refilling. DO NOT make them top heavy by starting at the top.

Just remember your home should be somewhere that you love. Somewhere you’re proud of. Somewhere you feel at home in. I’d love to see how you got on, and how you display your books. When you’ve finished take a picture and share it with me on social media.

You May Also Like:

http://www.christieadamswriter.com/how-to-organise-your-bookshelf/

Get in touch with me from your next coffee shop or library:

^^^ Thank you so much again to Christie for such a helpful and well thought out post! Again, please be sure to check out her blog and give her page some love! What is on your spring cleaning check list? How many books do you have in your collection? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Be sure to tune in tomorrow for a gorgeous OOTD from K.M. at Ankhor You!

Monday Update: Worst Book Ever Edition

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Monday Update: Worst Book Ever Edition

Hi everyone and happy Monday! Welcome to another week here on lifewithlilred. If you’re a faithful reader of my blog, you might have gathered a few things about me throughout the years. Two of them being that I love to read and that I refuse to not finish something that I start. This second Lil Red Fun Fact rings especially true considering that I’m reading the literal Worst Book Ever. Let’s discuss:

My mom brought me home Maestra by L.S. Hilton from the library. I read through the synopsis on the jacket and inspected all of the rave reviews from authors and the like on the back of the book. Many were comparing it to Gone Girl and saying how the lead female character, Judith, was similar to Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Lisbeth is one of my all time favorite fictional characters and TGWTDT will always remain one of my favorite book series, as well.

I knew that this Judith lady would never live up to the love that I have for Lisbeth but I was willing to give the book a shot. Unfortunately, after the first two pages of Maestra, I knew that I was in for the worst reading experience of my life. Even more unfortunately, those two pages read damned me into having to finish the entire three hundred page book. Fuck me, right?

The premise of the book – an art gallery employee gone rogue was nothing that impressed me. It seemed desperately unoriginal and you could tell that Hilton was trying really hard to channel her inner Gillian Flynn and Stieg Larsson to no avail. I could get past this bland story line if the writing was actually good but the novel didn’t even have that going for it. And there was also one major issue…

This book is legitimately like reading pornography. Judith is very in touch with her sexual side and spends her free time going to parties designed for people to have a romp with complete strangers. The writing goes into specific/explicit detail about sex, sex, sex and then falls into the dull lull of a high schooler’s attempt at writing something edgy.

So we learn that Judith is a straight up sex junkie. This is all very well – if she were smart. This is where I start getting angry. Lisbeth Salander was able to overcome every obstacle in her way because she was intelligent as hell. Judith just uses the fact that she’s willing to have sex with anyone to get out of the troubles that she thrusts herself into.

See the difference? One is smart. One is a slut, for a lack of a better word (I know that I’m going to get some backlash for that!). So for people to compare this Judith character to Stieg Larsson’s genius Lisbeth just seems like a slap in the face to an amazing book series/character. Maestra has easily been the worst book that I’ve been essentially forcing myself to read in my life. You know that Hilton is a poor writer when her erotica is better than the actual story. -_-

If you’re in to reading a really shitty book with some porn thrown in for good measure – read this book. But if you’re in to reading about intelligent, cool, innovative, and truly edgy female heroins then do yourselves a favor and stay far away from Maestra. Crack open a copy of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, instead. You’ll thank me later.

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Worst Book Ever Edition! What is the worst book that you have ever read? What’s your favorite book? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Monday Update: My Second Beauty Blogger Award Edition

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Monday Update: My Second Beauty Blogger Award Edition

Hellooo everyone and happy Monday! I hope all of you had a fabulous weekend! On Friday I got nominated by my friend, Kezzie, at: kezziescorner for the Beauty Blogger Award. I was so flattered to be nominated for the second time by such a fantastic blogger so make sure you check out her page! With all of the fun blogging awards comes rules, of course, so take a look and then see how I answered the questions that Kezzie asked her nominees:

The Rules:

  • Tag and thank who nominated you.
  • Respond to the questions that your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate 10 new beauty/fashion bloggers.
  • Create 10 new questions for these bloggers to answer.
  • Tell the blogger that you nominated them.

Got it? Good! Now let’s take a look at Kezzie’s questions:

Q & A:

Are you studying? If so what?

Yes, I am! I’m currently working towards getting my Associate of Arts degree at Tri-C in Cleveland, Ohio.

What are you reading right now?

I just started The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. I’m about one hundred pages in and I really like it so far!

What is your favorite lipstick shade?

That’s easy! I love NYX’s Pure Red matte lipstick. It’s seriously the best matte lipstick I’ve ever used and the shade is perfect for Lil Red!

What is your go to outfit for winter?

During the winter, I like to wear my black skinnies (obviously), with a chunky sweater, my Michael Kors booties, one of my many peacoats, and the super warm gloves my boyfriend got me for Christmas.

What is your favorite all time TV character?

This is also an easy one. Elaine from Seinfeld will always be one of my all time favorite TV characters. I want to be her when I grow up.

Do you have a favorite Youtuber?

Not really, I don’t go on YouTube very often.

What inspires you the most in life?

People who are working their asses off to improve their lives and themselves.

What do you do when you are having a bad day?

Hmmm…Before, when I had a bad day I used to use really unhealthy coping mechanisms. Now that I’m clean from that, I like to take bubble baths, write, and binge watch Netflix in bed when I’m having a bad day…So basically what I do every day. 😉

What is your favorite nail polish shade?

Black. Black. Black. I don’t paint my nails often but when I do I always paint them black. Lol, I sound like the Dos Equis guy! When I used to have my talon like fake nails, they were always black with red for an accent nail and a cross on both of my middle fingers. I miss my fake nails so much but they were a lot of upkeep and not having them is a total money saver. Now every time I do something that definitely would have broken a nail, I breathe a little sigh of relief in knowing that I won’t have to rush to the salon to get it fixed!

What is your favorite makeup store?

I love The Body Shop and a lot of my makeup does come from there but honestly, I’m just as happy getting the last odds and ends of what I need at Target. They have a shockingly wonderful makeup selection and I like to use Covergirl and Rimmel. For a treat, I like to use their Pixie brand!

My Nominees (I’m only doing three):

My Questions For You:

  1. What is your favorite beauty item that you treat yourself with?
  2. What was one of your worst fashion or beauty moments?
  3. If you could raid one celebrity’s wardrobe, who would it be?
  4. Would you rather wear the same outfit every day for a week or not wear makeup for a month?
  5. Bubble baths or long showers?
  6. Did someone teach you how to wear makeup or did you learn how to do it on your own?
  7. What is your favorite makeup or clothing store to score a bargain?
  8. What was your favorite fashion or beauty moment?
  9. How would you describe your style?
  10. Everyone has a color that just looks perfectly awful on them. What color is that for you? What about the color that looks best on you?

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: My Second Beauty Blogger Award Edition! Thank you so much again to my friend, Kezzie, at: kezziescorner for the nomination! How was everyone’s weekend? How would you answer some of the questions that I asked my nominees? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

My Second One Lovely Blog Award

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My Second One Lovely Blog Award

Hiii everyone and happy weekend! I hope that everyone is having a fabulous day so far. On Thursday I was so flattered to be nominated for My Second One Lovely Blog Award by the sweet Juliet at: notcapulet! I’m so appreciative to everyone who has been nominating me for all of these fun awards lately – believe me, it does not go unnoticed! As always, with these awards comes some rules for the nominees to follow, so take a look:

The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated them, including a link to their blog.
  • List the rules and include the award badge in their acceptance post.
  • Add seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate fifteen other bloggers and notify them of their nomination.

Now, I suppose I have to think of some new fun facts about me – which is actually kind of difficult! I’m really not that exciting. Let’s see…

All About Me:

  1. I currently have over twenty days worth of music on my iTunes and my collection is always growing. I’m looking forward to adding Enya’s newest album, Dark Sky Island, as well as some Fleetwood Mac next.
  2. I absolutely adore the Despicable Me movies! I usually don’t care for anything animated but those movies are definitely the exception. Minions are my spirit animals and thanks to my boyfriend and sister I have a collection of Despicable Me stuffed animals including: Agnes, Kevin, Stuart, fluffy unicorn, and Kyle!
  3. My two favorite television shows are Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David is a genius.
  4. I love to read and am about to start rereading Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels for the second time. Sandman is easily one of my favorite series and I plan on getting a tattoo from the amazing artwork that it boasts eventually.
  5. I was completely heartbroken over the deaths of the great David Bowie and Alan Rickman this past week. The world lost two great talents and I am so sad to see them go.
  6. One of my goals is to become fluent in French and I’m working very hard to achieve that.
  7. I’ve gotten over thirty piercings in my twenty-one years of living. I now only have ten – five on my nose, four on my ears, and my bellybutton. I also have four tattoos and I can’t wait to get more soon!

My Nominees (I’m only doing three):

So there you have it, all of the details from My Second One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you so much again to my friend, Juliet, at: notcapulet for nominating me! What is everyone up to this weekend? What are some fun facts about yourself? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

A Letter To A Friend

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A Letter To A Friend

Hello all and happy Friday! I had a long day in Columbus yesterday for work but it was definitely worth it! Stay tuned for the Monday Update to hear more on that. ANYWAYS, If there’s one thing that Lil Red loves, it’s letting close friends borrow books from my extensive collection. What I love the most though, is when I find a book that I think one of my friends would respond really well to and personally give it to them with a hand written message explaining why the book reminded me of them. Recently a very dear friend of mine had to go away for a spell so I made a special care package just for her with books and of course, a letter. This very well may be one of my favorite things that I ever wrote, so I thought that I would share it with all of you. Take a look:

Hello, you. I brought you some of my favorite books and I hope you find as much comfort in their pages as I do. You’ll meet girls who are brave like Coraline and Liesel. You’ll come to fall in love with a boy who never grows up and a Little Prince from a planet far away from here. In The Little Prince, the fox teaches the little boy a lesson: “One sees clearly with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” Well, I see you so clearly in my heart and eyes, for that matter, and I think it’s important for you to know what I see.

I see a beautiful young woman who is working so hard to better herself and I admire you very much for it. G.K. Chesterton states that “fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. You have a big obstacle to face during your time away but I trust that you will be able to beat it and come out victorious on the other end. Please treat my books with care because they hold some of my dearest friends but don’t be afraid to let them help you on the way. All my love, Sarah

I dunno, I kinda liked it! 😉 I always enjoy sharing my personal writings with my readers so I figured “why not”, especially because I like this letter a whole lot – and maybe it might just help one of you! I hope you’re all having a great day and I’ll talk to you all soon! Until then, what is your favorite book? What book inspires you when you need encouragement? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: The books that I referenced in my letter were in order: Coraline, The Book Thief, Peter Pan, and The Little Prince – all of which are some of my favorites!

American Horror Story: Hotel “Lil Red’s Farewell”

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American Horror Story: Hotel “Lil Red’s Farewell”

Helloo everyone and a very happy evening to all of you! Alright, guys. No one can say I didn’t try. NO ONE. But, on this ninth episode of American Horror Story: Hotel, “She Wants Revenge”, I am throwing in the towel. I refuse to spend any more time on this season. Therefore, I’m renaming tonight’s episode, “Lil Red’s Farewell”.

boohoo

Week after week you guys have tuned in for my reviews and opinions on the new episodes of AHS and I am so humbled and appreciate it greatly. However, it doesn’t feel right putting aside an hour for a television show that’s below sub par. During tonight’s new episode, all I could think of was how much I wanted to crawl into bed and crack open Stephen King’s “Cell”, which I began rereading yesterday. I was craving genuine horror as opposed to the soap opera dramatics that AHS has been delivering every week with episodes that have consistently disappointed.

Not only has this season bored me to tears BUT these posts have been boring me as well. Don’t get me wrong, if I was loving the season it would be different – but it’s so hard to crank out similar posts for every episode when nothing exciting is really happening. During Freak Show, I lived for my Wednesday night articles on the new episodes…So you know something is wrong when I dread firing up the ol’ laptop after epis of Hotel!

I gave this season my best shot and the benefit of the doubt for nine weeks, but enough is enough. I now plan on spending my Wednesday nights tucked in with a good book or perhaps watching some old slasher films. I have an insatiable urge to absorb entertainment of quality and Hotel has done nothing to satisfy this. So, that’s that. I bid you farewell, American Horror Story: Hotel because I’m breaking up with you for good this time. Better luck on season six! Now cue the music!

So there you have it, the final post on American Horror Story: Hotel, “Lil Red’s Farewell”. Now if you’ll excuse me, Cell and a midnight snack is calling my name! What are your opinions on this season of AHS? Who has given up on the show? Who is a die hard Hotel fan? I wanna hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

PS: Don’t you worry about what I’ll be filling the Thursday and Friday slots on lifewithlilred with! I have some very fun upcoming posts up my sleeve! ❤ 🙂