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Miscellaneous

My latest book buys

After receiving a £72 Amazon voucher from work, I thought I’d go ahead and treat myself to some books (and Japanese Kit Kats, of course, but they haven’t arrived yet).

Words – a poem

 

Words

Your words caress me in ways no mortal hands have ever done, sending shivers dancing across my very soul

How is it that mere words have become such an intrinsic part of my day, having woven themselves into my existence,

So much so, that my desire to talk to you transcends the mind, becoming a physical need that makes me ache

Your words are potent, filled with a raw honesty that leaves me trembling and breathless

And I have to ask myself this one question; if your words alone do this to me, what will your presence itself do?

Curing the reading slump

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Has it taken you a week or more to finish a 300 page book? Is your TBR list growing rapidly out of control? Are you finding it difficult to concentrate when reading? 

Well, my friend *pats bed beside me, inviting you to sit down* (yeah, yeah, I’m blogging in bed today, just get in the damn thing, okay!?), you’re quite possibly suffering from a condition known as reading slump. Reading slump affects all of us from time to time, but it’s particularly frustrating when you’re a book blogger and reading is something you kinda, well, have to do. I’m in the midst of a mild reading slump right now and figured it might be a good idea to compile a list of potential cures for this affliction. Before we begin, let’s get comfy, okay?

Let’s…

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…be creepy and snuggle and…

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…drink tea!

1. Ask yourself this question; why are you in a reading slump? Very often, my reading slumps are a reflection of my overall mood. It’s no massive secret that I have depression and when I’m having a period where I’m feeling particularly low, I find it a struggle to do the things that I enjoy. I find it difficult to focus on things such as reading and writing and I find myself feeling extremely lethargic. I’ll pick up a book and find that I either can’t concentrate or I just don’t want to read it. When I’m feeling like this, I try and figure out why I’m feeling more low than usual. Sometimes there isn’t a reason. Sometimes there is. If I do manage to pin point a cause, I work on a way of eliminating it, be it through talking to a friend or trying to change the way I approach whatever it is that has made me feel like that.

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Talking and hugging; simple yet effective!

2. Don’t beat yourself up about it. I feel this ties in with the first point, particularly when you can’t determine the exact cause of your reading slump. As book bloggers, being in a reading slump is distressing. Your eyes frantically scan your blog, locking on the date of your last review. Last week, two weeks ago…it doesn’t matter how long ago it was, it will still induce feelings of guilt and make you feel like complete and utter shit. Criticising yourself doesn’t help. Hell, if anything it makes it worse. By making yourself feel useless as a blogger and bookworm, you bring yourself down and the whole cycle starts again. If you’re in a reading slump, don’t sweat it, okay? Your followers and blogging friends will still be there when you return to the bookish blogosphere. We get it completely and you don’t need to feel bad about it. This knowledge alone can help immensely.

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“No recent book reviews anywhere!”

3. Magazines! Magazines are a god send when it comes to tackling the ol’ reading slump. If the above two points don’t apply to you, that’s fine. Sometimes reading slumps arise from just needing a break from heavy reading. Magazines offer a bit of light relief and give your brain a mental break, all while still enriching it. It’s a win-win situation when it comes to magazines! Happy days!

magazines

4. Try something different. At the tail end of last year, I went through a massive reading slump and it was primarily because I was sick to the back teeth of paranormal romance. It’s the genre I initially built my blog around and, consequently, I felt I had a duty to read that genre and that genre alone. I began to feel as though I was reading the same story over and over, but with different characters and maybe a different location. I was bored and just couldn’t be arsed to read anymore. In January 2017, I decided to change things around and pledged to read more widely. Now, I dabble in all genres (well, I don’t literally mean all. Were you aware that dinosaur erotica was a thing? Nope? I’m sure your life was better without that horrific tidbit of information, so I apologise) and as a result, reading became exciting for me once more!

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My reaction to the knowledge that dinosaur erotica exists.

5. Switch off from social media for a while. Social media…ah, it’s a great yet terrible thing, isn’t it? On the one hand, you get to meet shit tons of new people and keep in touch with friends, old and new alike. On the other…well, it’s distracting as hell. Two months after buying Charles Bukowski’s The Pleasures of the Damned as a bedtime reading book, I’m not even a quarter of the way through it and do you know why!? Because I lie in bed watching videos of sloths being bathed and hung out to dry or guinea pigs playing tug of war with lettuce leaves! There! I admitted it! My point is that social media can be distracting and very often, I’ll leave my phone on charge in my bedroom while I go have breakfast. As a result, I usually fit in at least an hour of undisturbed reading in the morning (well, work depending). I’m not saying you should go on a social media detox (those guinea pig pics on Instagram won’t like themselves!) but more you should hide your phones and tablets for an hour or two each day. It works wonders!

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The age old question…

Do you often suffer from reading slump? If so, what do you do? Let me know in the comments below! 

Jazz has been productive!

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So, life has been very busy in the Land of Jazz and I thought I’d provide you all with a brief update.

  • My debut poetry anthology, Sweet Oblivion, has now been published and you can download your free copy here. If anyone wants to leave a brief review on Goodreads perhaps, please feel free to do so. This is my first book so I’m a little nervous about reviews, but I guess that’s all part and parcel of publishing books.
  • I’m on a temporary hiatus from my podcast, A Cup of Tea and a Chinwag with Jazz. I was uploading the episodes onto SoundCloud and I recently used up all my free hours. To upload more, I’ll have to start paying a monthly fee and with my current monthly outgoings and university on the horizon, it’s simply not an expense I can afford right now.
  • A short story of mine – well, I think flash fiction is more appropriate, it’s only 100 words long! – is being published in an anthology. The publication is in the early stages so more to follow!
  • My friend and I are currently working on an anthology of short stories together that we are hoping to publish through Amazon and Smashwords. I’m always on the lookout for proofreaders so drop me a message if you’re interested!

That’s all from me today. I’ve been up since 4am and I can hear my bed calling to me. 

‘Sweet Oblivion’ has been published! (finally!)

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Okay, I have been insanely busy these past couple of weeks and one of the reasons behind this business is my debut poetry collection, Sweet Oblivion! I initially published it last week but the formatting was all wrong, so I had to start over. The formatting has been corrected (I couldn’t quite work out page breaks, but if anyone familiar with Smashwords knows how to successfully insert them, please let me know via Twitter or something!) and I’m pleased to show you guys the finished product.

It’s also available for free! You can download or view it online here.

So excited right now!

Why do we fear the dark? – a poem 

We fear the dark 

Because it’s the unknown 

And the unknown is full of possibility 


We fear possibility 

Because it’s about taking a chance 

When our path is illuminated by nothing more than a glimmer of hope 


We fear taking a chance 

Because there is no guarantee 

That we will escape the dark and its what ifs and empty possibilities. 

Inspired by a thought provoking prompt I saw on Instagram. Have you got any poems to share? If so, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to read them! 

Some poems 

In the run up to my poetry anthology’s release, I thought I’d share some new material I’ve been working on this past week or two 😁



Night readers VS. Day readers!

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Are you a night reader, or are you a day reader? 

I saw this awesome meme not so long ago that made reference to us folk that are neither ‘early birds’ nor ‘night owls’. We simply exist in limbo, floating around in the ether between these magical states of being. We are just ‘permanently exhausted pigeons’.

Basically, if you hadn’t guessed already, I’m both a night reader and a day reader. I have a naughty habit of going to bed really late and getting up really early (okay, like 8 or 9 if I’m not working, but that’s pretty early when you consider there’s another 15 or 16 hours of the day left to suffer!)

Are you, like me, a permanently exhausted pigeon wanting to make a lifestyle change? Do you want to be able to throw yourself into the arms of sleep at 9pm, to awaken seven hours later feeling refreshed and rejuvenated as you tackle that ever growing TBR pile? Or, does the night call out to you, imploring you stay and read it just one more chapter, breathing life and meaning into the emptiness of its existence? (Jeez, the night needs to cheer the fuck up)

Excellent, you’re in the right place! I’m going into a head-to-head battle with none other than…erm…myself! Who shall be crowned champion, Night Reader Jazz or Day Reader Jazz? Stay tuned, peeps, stay tuned…

Night reading

Pros

  • You can read uninterrupted for hours and hours and hours…and more hours, right until you see the sun peeking shyly above the horizon (I’d be pretty shy about making an appearance too if I had the audacity to wake people up at 4am in the summer. Ha, I’m not bitter at all).
  • There’s no guilt! The laundry has been done and the dishes have been washed, and even if they haven’t, who the hell does those things at 2am!? That’s right! There’s nothing and no one that requires your attention! (except me, love me and hold me and call me nice names *slaps self* Jazz!*
  • It’s a great way to unwind. Studies have shown that being exposed to the blue and white lights emanating from the screens of our smart phones and tablets prevents our bodies from producing a hormone known melatonin, which essentially tells our bodies that it’s time to go night night. Good old-fashioned paperbacks will guarantee you a good night’s sleep…if you ever make it to bed that is.

Cons

  • Dropping the book on your face if you snooze for even a microsecond. I recently dropped Charles Bukowski’s The Pleasures of the Damned on my face. One word: fucking ouch (that’s two, but what the hell)
  • “Just one more chapter,” you whisper to yourself, “I swear this will be the last chapter. I know I said that seven chapters ago…but just one more chapter.” I don’t need to elaborate. We’ve all suffered at work following a night of failing to follow through with our empty assurances of just one more chapter. 
  • When you do eventually make it to bed, it can be near enough impossible to switch your brain off after reading a particularly engaging or thrilling read. I once went to bed following a chapter in which these fantastical creatures were in the midst of an epic, bloody battle and I awoke a couple of hours later and distinctly remember saying in my sleep drunken state that “I must prepare my men for battle”. The book continues long after you’ve closed both its pages and your eyes.

Day reading

Pros

  • Daytime reading is a good lifestyle choice if you favor what I call ‘heavy literature’ (think Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy). I tried (that isn’t fair usage of that word, I gave up twenty pages in) to read the first The Lord of the Rings book as my bedtime book a few years back and I found myself constantly going back and rereading entire pages, simply because I couldn’t absorb the information when I was tired.
  • Sleep doesn’t beckon! Ha! You’ve already slept so you don’t need to fret about that solid eight hours!
  • Other people are actually awake. Have you ever reached an epic, shocking climax (haha, climax! *slaps self* Jazz! Get a grip, woman!*) in a book and have felt sick as the excitement/horror/other intense emotion pushes against your internal organs, wanting out, needing release (if this happens, be extra sure it’s not a case of impending volcanic diarrhea), only to find that there’s no one to gush or vent to? Well, that’s an issue completely eradicated with daytime reading…unless your friends live in different time zones.

Cons

  • Commitments. Ah that dreaded word oft associated with adulthood. Daytime reading can be difficult when you have to work and, oh god, socialize. 
  • It can be tempting to read while carrying out said commitments and this leads to reading on the bus or train and this also leads to having to close your book when you reach your stop. It’s an agony quite unlike any other, trust me.
  • Interruptions. Oh lord, the interruptions. When you read at night, you can almost 100% guarantee that the people you live with will either a) be asleep or b) engaging in some sort of other nocturnal activity (like watching Netflix, of course!) so the chances of being interrupted in the middle of an epic fight scene are greatly reduced.

So, guys, what’s the verdict? Which is better, night reading or day reading? I think I might just stick to being a permanently exhausted pigeon and indulge in both 😉 Sleep’s overrated! 

A Cup of Tea and a Chinwag with Jazz; Episode 9, ‘Books that changed the world; part II’

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‘sup yo! In today’s episode, I’m continuing with my discussion of books that changed the world and this week, I’ve turned my attention towards books that tackle prejudice, focusing in particular on Holocaust literature. It’s perhaps an intense theme in comparison to the themes of previous episodes, but I hope people will find it interesting.

Check out the episode here and the bloopers here and here.

Join in on the discussion! 

 

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