The Burning World review

So, remember that book, Warm Bodies? It was made into a movie a while ago with that guy whose name I can never remember- the one who looks kind of like an Elf? I think he played Beast in the new X-men movies. 

Anyway, I saw the movie before reading the book- just because I didn’t know the book existed. I’m very much a page-to-screen girl, rather than the other way around. And I loved the movie. I mean, really- loved it. 

It’s about a zombie guy, R, who doesn’t want to be a zombie. Basically he meets this living girl and starts to fall in love with her, and in the process, starts to come back to life. And while it is very much a zombie book- brains are eaten, limbs are ripped off, things are shot- it’s more like a story of self discovery. And it’s very, very cute. 

R is the narrator of the book, and his inner monologue is eloquent, smooth, and funny. Even before he starts to come back to life, he never really feels dead. 

A quick disclaimer: I don’t like the whole zombie thing. I saw one episode of the Walking Dead and absolutely hated it. I think they’re gross and just ought not be a thing. Which is why I was legitimately surprised by how much I liked Warm Bodies. Probably because while it was a zombie book, technically, it didn’t feel like one. 

Now, onto my review of the sequel, The Burning World. 

At the end of Warm Bodies, R says that he doesn’t want to remember what he refers to as his first life, because he likes the one that he has now, with Julie. The books ends on a hopeful note, and it felt very self contained. 

We open The Burning World a little bit later, with R and Julie living the American dream in a dilapidated house that they’re trying to fix up while R learns to be alive again. It’s very much as cute as the previous book ended. But that ends pretty quickly.

The book is action packed, confusing at times, and honestly, pretty gross. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but let’s just say that it’s not quite the suburban happily ever after for R and Julie that we started with. 

I did not like the book.

And I want to give credit where it’s due! It’s not a bad book. It’s still quite nicely written, and it really did keep me up late, just so I could find out what happened next. But The Burning World felt like a zombie apocalypse book. Which, I guess, it was. I would just remind you all of my disclaimer: I don’t like zombie stories. 

It just didn’t feel to me like any of the heart from Warm Bodies made it into the sequel. Sure, there were moments- one, in particular, regarding a lost family member, which basically ripped my heart out, but that was about it. 

Basically, my problem is this, and maybe the problems stems more from how I read it than from the book itself. I opened a zombie book expecting a story about being alive, and got a zombie book.

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2016 Wrap-Up

A little under a year ago, I posted this blog post listing my resolutions for 2016. Now, I’m going to go through each of those and let you all know if I accomplished them or now!

  1. Graduate college

I didn’t go to my graduation, but I did graduate. There was a really scary period of about two weeks there where I thought I didn’t graduate. After moving back home, I got a letter in the mail from my university saying that my “application to graduate had been denied”. AKA gurl, you didn’t make it. I had to do some serious last minute panicking/ scrambling, but I did it!

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2. Get settled into a home

After graduation, I moved back home for a few months while I looked for a place to live, but I finally found a home at the end of September. It’s a studio apartment in a really convenient location. It’s tiny, I don’t have any overhead lighting, and my building is roughly 250,000 years old, but it’s mine! I’m currently writing this from my living room (which is also my bedroom/foyer/dining room).

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3. Get a Big Girl Job

At some point earlier this year, I wrote about turning down a Big Girl Job for a job at camp. Long story short, camp fell through this year and I ended up taking a job at that office. I started there two days after graduation in early May and I’m still there now. To be honest, the work is kind of dull, but I’m already advancing within the office, my coworkers are (mostly) cool, and I get lots of crazy stories from weird customers. I can wear whatever I want, and I get to bring my dog to work!

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(i promise this collage was actually on my job’s website.)

Which brings me to…

4. Get a dog

The light of the second half of 2016 has been Ginny The Jet Rodriguez AKA Ginny Binny AKA The Shredder AKA Dingus. Ginny is an 8 month old 45 pound black lab mix- I don’t know what she’s mixed with but I’m thinking possibly German Shepherd or Border Collie. She enjoys destroying things, food, water (Ginny LOVES water), trips to the dog park, and biting (nicely now. As a puppy, she legit BIT but now she just likes to gently gnaw my hand. It’s v cute). Recently, she’s started sleeping in my bed. It gets cold and I don’t want her to be lonely. So sue me. Ginny wears a lot of sweaters and comes with me just about everywhere. I’m very excited for her first Christmas.

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5. Read 50 books

I haven’t really kept track of this, but I read a lot this year. Definitely at least 50 books. One that I really loved recently was Hannah Hart’s Buffering.

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6. Maintain this blog throughout the year (at least one post every two weeks)

Well… I half fulfilled this? I posted every now and then…

I’m gonna go ahead and mark this one as a failure. Let’s be real here.

7. Get (and use!) a gym membership

Uh…

well…

I got a gym membership! And I used it! Twice.

Here’s the problem with the gym. The last time I went, I think, was in April? Maybe? I still have that gym membership, for a gym that I don’t go to, in a city that I don’t even live in anymore.

There was an episode of Friends where Chandler had a gym membership that he never used, but he never cancelled it because the healthy beautiful people at the gym intimidated him into keeping it. So Ross finds out about this and offered to go with Chandler to help cancel it. And they went and came back and somehow, Ross ended up getting a membership, too.

That’s me.

So technically I achieved this resolution, but again, I’m going to mark this as a failure. A failure that is still costing me $15 a month.

 

Anyway. I’ll make a post of my 2017 resolutions later this month. Personally, I achieved a lot in 2016, even though as far as years go, it was an absolute garbage fire.

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How to Have the Perfect Mental Health Day

It’s your first day off in ages. You just finished a big project. Work or school is exhausting. Things aren’t going the way you planned. You need a day

  1. Sleep in.

You’ve got nowhere to be. This is your day off. Don’t set an alarm. Just wake up when you actually feel ready to wake up.

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2. Go to the store

You can definitely do this the day before if, unlike me, you’re a proactive person, but my mental health day was sort of last minute. When you go to the store, though. Don’t bother with makeup or a bra. Just put on a sweatshirt and go. If people are really that worried about how well your boobs are supported, then they’ve got other issues that aren’t your problem.

You’ll want to stock up on pamper supplies like face masks or hot oil treatments if you don’t have them already, as well as snacks. Don’t get anything super unhealthy if possible- you don’t want to feel like poop the next day. Maybe get something indulgent, that you wouldn’t normally buy yourself. I got the stuff for a cheese plate- my favorite type of cheese, crackers, grapes, and some cheap wine.

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3. Go home and put on your coziest PJs

If, like me, your coziest PJs are your winter PJs and it’s too hot for that nonsense, turn up the AC. It’s 2016. We don’t have to sit around sweltering in tank tops and knock-off Nike shorts. I wanted to wear my bunny onesie, outside temperature be damned.

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4. Chill out with some nice, calming TV or movies

For me, this is not the day for action packed or scary TV. Mental health days are days for The Great British Bake Off, the early Harry Potter movies, or The Princess Diaries.

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5. (optional, but recommended) Find an animal. Snuggle.

At this point in the day, I took my puppy and we went for a little bit of cuddle time on the bed. She slept, I watched another episode of the Bake Off, I felt my stress levels drop.

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6. Take a bath

This was the pièce de résistance of my day. Get yourself a bath going. Make it a good one. I used the Sunnyside bubble bar from lush, several fall-scented candles from Bath and Body Works, and a hot oil treatment. I also put on a podcast (Mugglecast) and just hung out in the dark for a while. I emerged honestly feeling like a new person.

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Managing the Post-College Slump

Well, blog friends,

I graduated. By the skin of my teeth.

The worst four years of my life are finally – finally – over.

I got a puppy (her name is Ginny “the Jet” Rodriguez and I love her), I got a full time job. But I’m kind of miserable.

My job isn’t bad. The office environment is great, I get to bring Ginny with me all day, and the pay isn’t the worst thing in the world. That said, the pay isn’t good, the work is tedious, and the hours are horrible. (Guess who was recently switched to the night shift.) And most importantly, it’s not remotely what I want to be doing. I don’t want to be answering phones, booking hotels for people all day, every day, for who knows how long.

I want to be writing. I want to use a bit of creativity. I want to actually use my brain. The work I do doesn’t require any thought or finesse, and I can actually feel my brain turning to slop inside my head.

And it’s not just work. I’m so tired of living with my parents. I want my own apartment, where I can decide what artwork to put up in the living room, where I can make scrambled eggs after midnight, where I can watch Orange is the New Black without headphones. I want to talk to people on the phone, or on Skype, without a parent sticking their head in my room like “who ya talking to???”

I’m in a really weird time of my life. I’m expected to be responsible, and I’m given a lot of responsibility, but I’m not given the privacy or freedom I need to go along with it. I need to find a way to move out, but I can’t afford to move out. It’s a really horrible, disgusting catch-22.

I wish I had a list of tips and tricks for navigating the post college slump. A really good blogger would turn this into a listicle about self care, and confidence, and having fun. But that’s not how I’m feeling right now. I’m mostly just feeling lost, kind of depressed, stifled, and, above all, bored out of my mind.

Journaling

If you knew me in middle or high school, you may remember that I was always journaling. It was a problem. I distinctly remember sitting in the back of Ms Buzzell’s seventh grade math class, writing away, and her taking my journal so that I would concentrate. And then, after class, I furiously journaled about it. I always had some kind of journal with me. A lot of them have been lost. I know there was a period in middle school where I wrote in red spiral bound notebooks, all in cursive– that was what I did while I was on the bus, and it’s why cursive still comes really naturally to me– but I have no idea where any of those journals are anymore.

Still, though, I love going back and reading about old crushes (there were some weird ones), middle school histrionics, problems with friends. I even had a few shared journals, which I passed back and forth between friends. Those were always great. I genuinely miss the shared notebooks.

I didn’t really journal throughout college, which I already regret. I want to be able to go back and read about college parties, papers, weird thoughts. It’s so heartwarming to go read ten year old Jules’ thoughts on Harry Potter or boys. I want to go back and read nineteen or twenty year old Jules’ thoughts on Harry Potter or boys. Especially since there are large parts of college that I already can’t remember, mainly due to blocked out trauma. (Which sounds really dramatic but I swear that’s what happened.)

I’ve tried pretty much every type of journal. I’ve had art journals, bullet journals, line a day journals, motivational quote journals… but generally, I just really enjoy the kind where you just grab a pen and write about your day, or whatever you have to write about. Maybe a list of my top 10 favorite movies, or a list of dream jobs. Blogging is sort of like journaling, and I use my twitter as sort of a journal, but it isn’t the same. That idea that no one is going to read it is really freeing, and you can say whatever you want.

I remember in one of my early journals, I had this epiphany of “I just realized! I can cuss in here!” I think I called someone a B***H. Including the asterisks.

I’ve started journaling again recently. I don’t really know what’s prompted it, except for the fact that my life is kind of in a state of upheaval right now. I’m not good at words out loud, but getting things down in writing really does the trick.

NaNoWriMo

I’m writing this blog post instead of writing my novel. Story of my life, amirite?

Anyway, I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo right now. If you’re not familiar, NaNoWriMo is a month in November where you write a novel (of 50,000 words) in a month. Camp NaNoWriMo happens in April and (I believe) July. It’s a bit more relaxed, because you can pick your writing goal. You could set it at the classic 50,000 or 20,000 or 150,000. Whatever.

I have kind of mixed feelings on NaNo. I feel like it tends to produce some really bad quality work. I just don’t believe that you can fully write a good book in a month. That isn’t how writing works. It focuses more on words and speed than quality.

BUT, no first draft of a novel is good. Or, it might be “good”, but I can tell you right now, it’s not Good Enough. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and To Kill a Mockingbird (my favorite book) wasn’t written in a month. All novels have to go through editing and rewriting processes. Books have many, many drafts before they come out in stores. Even then, they’re edited in later editions.

The thing about NaNoWriMo is, even though a lot (most?) of the work isn’t great quality, at least it’s being written. It’s getting people writing, and thinking about writing, and talking about writing. And some of those first drafts will become second drafts, which will become third drafts, and eventually, a couple will make it onto shelves.

I tend to stall out on writing. I skip one day, which turns into two, which turns into a month without putting down a single new word. It’s why I’ve got so many partial shells of drafts in my google drive. With NaNoWriMo, at least I’m getting words down. Those words can be fixed later, but it’s a start. It’s more than I’ve ever written before. The deadline and pressure of it really helps me, because I work really well under that type of pressure.

idk bruh. i like it.