10 Books I Want More People to Read and Appreciate

In today’s episode of “I make a book list out of pettiness”…

There have been some people in the book community complaining about “underrated books” that no one else has read… and then those books turn it out to have 100k ratings on Goodreads and are NYT-bestselling books. So today, I thought I would talk about books that actually haven’t gotten as much hype as they should have that I really wish more people read!!

Most of these have under 5,000 ratings on Goodreads, and it was so depressing to see that some of my absolute favorites had only 2-3,000. And even then, there are many books on my TBR that have less than 700 ratings—which is why this list is more about books I want more people to read versus underhyped books (since there are books that are more underhyped than these).

You might have already seen these books mentioned on my blog before, because I’ve talked about quite a few of them many times before and no one listens to poor me… but hopefully now that will change!!

(Fun fact: most of these feature books about/by QPOC! Aka read more QPOC!!)

Continue reading “10 Books I Want More People to Read and Appreciate”

Sharing My Notion Set-Up and a Brief Tutorial, Tips, & Template!

Bet you all missed me and my monster-length posts…

I know I said my hiatus was over, but that was two weeks ago, I am a liar, and you should never trust me. But to procrastinate and ignore all my other pressing tasks, I finally wrote a blog post, and it’s about Notion!!

If you’re not familiar with it, Notion is a free online organizational tool that allows you to keep multiple systems and layouts in one place. (It’s hard to explain, so I recommend just looking at my pages below to get an idea.) You can use it on your browser or download the application on any device!

Today I’m going to be giving you a look at my Notion pages, plus some tips for those who want to start using it. I know this isn’t my usual book content, but it’s been helpful for me in so many aspects of my life, including reading/blogging. I hope you enjoy looking through my pages, and that this is helpful and/or convinces you to try using Notion!!

Also, I know I’ve talked about this before, but I’m asking again that you take a few minutes out of your day to research the unprecedented protests going on in Thailand right now!!

MY PAGES

To start off, I’m going to do a walk-through of my Notion pages. I figured this would be a good way to introduce you to what Notion is like if you haven’t heard of it! I won’t show all my pages, and I might end up making more in the future, but here’s what I have for now!

(I will be linking to a template I made for all my pages at the end of this post.)

HOME

I really love my home page!! I wanted to keep it nice and simple so that it would act only as a place for me to access all the rest of my pages! Many people also put to-do lists, “currently” sections (currently reading, watching, etc.), playlists, and other things, but I personally didn’t see the need for them.

Since I won’t be showing all the pages, here’s a brief description of the ones I’m skipping over:

  • Writing: Linking to my various Google Docs for poetry/short stories, list of ideas overall, pages for certain WIPs that will contain basic, important info (ie. setting, characters).
  • IB Diploma: Information I need to know about getting my IB Diploma. Also just for managing my High Levels of Stress in the future to be honest!!
  • College: [haven’t started yet so this is just a plan] List of colleges I want to/will apply to (and future acceptances/rejections/etc) and all the other fun details I would like to not think about right now!
  • SAT Study: Tracking when/what I’m practicing or studying, scores I get on practice tests, basic test tips to remember, specific material I want to review, and actual test dates.
  • Thai: Schedule for when I want to learn what (which I am, to the surprise of no one, already failing), Thai alphabet, and Thai YouTubers I’m watching/want to watch. I want to add more but I don’t know what else to put!

WEEKLY

  • to-do list for each day of the week, divided into academic + personal tasks
  • also includes events (ie. dance class, meetings, etc.) that I need to remember
  • (the yellow block that says “[upcoming]” links to my upcoming school assignments/assessments for easy access when planning my week)

HABIT TRACKER

  • first of all… please ignore how abysmal my sleep schedule is… (if you say a 6-hour average isn’t abysmal, I will tell you that you are wrong and you absolutely need more sleep in your life)
  • tracking different things I want to try to do every day and make a habit of
  • I like that Notion can calculate different things for you (ie. total times you’re checking off a habit)
  • added a section for myself to make cute little reflections on the month because I had some empty space

Also, brief unnecessary explanation of the way I’m tracking my water intake: I am so horrible at hydrating that I can’t even count the number of ounces/cups/whatever I’m drinking, because it’ll be around like. 2 cups. Which is utterly humiliating and horrifying. So for now I’m doing time of day, and when I regularly drink water in the morning, daytime, AND evening… I will move on to amounts. (This will take at least a year.)

ARCS

showing table view
showing calendar view
  • originally kept track of ARCs in reading spreadsheet, so the Notion layout is almost the same as that
  • what made me decide to move it to Notion was that I can convert it to a calendar (as seen in the second picture) and visually see all the release dates of my ARCs, aka the days I need to read/review them by!

READING NOTES

  • I love this page because it encourages me to take notes while I read, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while
  • helpful for writing book reviews and remembering my thoughts about books in general
  • side section for book review-specific things—a Notion page for book reviews doesn’t make sense for me personally because I write reviews in Google Docs, but I don’t have a book review checklist anywhere yet!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • highlighting favorite books of the year and other books I loved!!
  • favorite quotes from books I read this year (not shown because it’s right next to a spoilery section dedicated to quotes from the ending of The Burning God… I like to read them and cry)
  • will probably add more things later, like 2020 reading stats/graphs or my most anticipated releases
  • just a fun page that I can come to whenever I’m hating on books and remind myself that there ARE good books out there!

BOOK BLOG

showing board view
showing calendar view
  • content calendar/board for upcoming blog posts
  • list of blog post ideas I may or may not write
  • list of blog posts I need to reply to comments on
  • mini to-do list of housekeeping tasks
  • I know some bloggers also track analytics and stats, and I’m personally someone who gets stressed out by doing that so I don’t have a section for that!
  • [not depicted] added a “remember” section in the sidebar linking to pages titled “blog posts” and “html codes”
    • blog posts page is using the Notion web clipper extension that you can download; essentially is a way to bookmark certain sites to come back to later, great for blog hopping! [seen below]

SCHOOL HUB

Image
  • (these screenshots were from a month ago because I’m lazy, hence the name “study space” and the September calendar)
  • sidebar has important links + times of all my classes because I somehow get them mixed up every single day
  • pages for all my classes except most of them only have the Zoom link and nothing else… yes I did those pictures just for the aesthetic
  • collection of lo-fi music videos to listen to while doing school work!
  • calendars of my assignments and assessments—actually one of my favorite things in my entire Notion

TIPS / TUTORIAL

Notion can definitely look a little daunting when you open it up at first. I figured out 99% of it on my own as a result of clicking on things and seeing what happened, so I believe in you! It can take a while to set up (especially if you spend a lot of time trying to make it pretty, like I did) but I definitely think it’s worth it when you finish.

GETTING STARTED

  • The three dots at the upper right corner of the page will give you options for font, small text, and full width screen.
  • If you want to use dark mode, go to settings (located in the sidebar) > toggle dark mode at the bottom!
  • If you hover your cursor over the left of a block, six dots will pop up and those will allow you to move the block around! (Notion blocks are like WordPress blocks: text, image, list, file, etc.)
  • Type “/” to make a new block, and then you can just type the name of what kind of block you’d like to make. There are shortcuts I like to use too, for example: /h2 for heading 2, /yellow or /yel for yellow background!

GENERAL

  • My first and foremost tip is just to play around and take time to familiarize yourself with Notion. Like I said, it can look intimidating, especially when there’s so much you can do. But I really feel like it’s so easily usable that you can figure most things out on your own!
  • Focus on function! I knew I wanted to make mine look Nice and Aesthetic, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. For example, I didn’t put a Spotify playlist on my home page because I’m on the home page like 2% of the time I’m on Notion, and since the music stops playing when you exit a page, there’s no point!!
  • If you care about aesthetics (and I say you should, as long as it doesn’t hinder functionality), keep it cohesive! For example, I’m mainly sticking to the warmer side of the color spectrum, and I’m using the same serif font for everything. If you need to fill space, images and quotes are a great way to do that, and use COLOR!!

  • Use the database functions. These are calendar, kanban board, table, gallery, and list blocks that Notion has, and they are SO useful. My absolute favorite part is how you can choose to see them in multiple views (for example, you can switch between the calendar and table view, as I did with my ARCs tracker).

TRICKS

  • If you want to make multiple columns with a database block side by side with another block, you can’t just drag and drop the database block to the side of the other block. So I make two empty text blocks, create two columns with those, and then move the database into one of those columns!
  • Notion won’t allow you to change the alignment of your text, and pressing the regular space key does nothing to change spacing. So I copy-paste the empty space character from emptycharacter.com to do my own text formatting!!
  • Something super helpful for me has been linking to specific blocks on the same or a different Notion page! (For example: In my habit tracker, instead of having to scroll all the way down to November, I list the months at the top and link November’s habit tracker, so I can just click on the link and be brought there.) Just click on the six grey dots to the left of the block > copy link!

  • You can highlight multiple blocks and move them all as one, instead of painstakingly having to move each individual block to another location (which I did for the longest time).

DATABASE

There are so many great things you can do with the database blocks, and most functions you can probably discover on your own. (If you can’t, though, feel free to ask me!) But I just wanted to highlight some specific elements that I didn’t know about at first that are really great!

        This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020-10-16.png

  • 3 dots > properties: toggles what properties you want shown (it’s hard to put in words, so look at the “done?” checkbox and class properties that show up my school assignments calendar!)
  • 3 dots > filter: filters what you see based on specific rules (ie. I don’t want to see any assignments due before the day before the current date, so I use “Where [due] [is on or after] [yesterday]” to see the things due yesterday and every day after)
  • 3 dots > sort: orders things based on specific settings (ie. upcoming blog posts on my board show up in order of date)

RESOURCES

  • The Notion Youtube channel / Notion guides: The Notion team offers tutorials on the basic functions! (Definitely not necessary to watch them to get an understanding, though; I didn’t watch a single one.)
  • #notiontwt on Twitter: People share templates and images of their pages, and it’s great place to get inspiration for your own layouts/aesthetics!
  • These enhancements that my friend Skye shared with me!! And speaking of Skye, here’s a Notion page she made with more resources, such as websites to find free icons.
  • Fadwa wrote an excellent blog post with great tips/guides!
  • If you want to know where I got my photos and icons: Google :DD (literally google images).

MY TEMPLATE

A lot of people asked for a template of my pages, so I went ahead and made one! Hopefully you all find it useful/can navigate it; I put in a few comments here and there to clarify some things. Of course, feel free to change and adjust it as you wish—it’s meant to fit you and your needs, not mine!!

You can find my template HERE.


shall we chat

do you use Notion? do you want/plan to? do you use anything to stay organized? if you use Notion and have posted about it, let me know!!

(I hope this was helpful! I struggled with the tips/tutorial section because I didn’t know what specific advice to give, when the most helpful thing for me was seeing other people’s Notions and figuring everything out on my own. so if you have any specific questions, feel free to simply ask me!)

blog signoff

May’s Moments of the Month: September // School is Still Killing Me

…Long time, no see!

I said in my August recap post that it was very likely that I’d take a hiatus in September, and, as I always am, I was right!

I’ve been having a good time off from posting, and though I didn’t catch up on comments/posts like I’d hoped I would, this month was definitely better than August in terms of my health! Which I’m going to consider a win.

(We will ignore the lack of reading, the lack of writing, the lack of sleep…)

Continue reading “May’s Moments of the Month: September // School is Still Killing Me”

Blog Tour Review: Iron Heart by Nina Varela // Beautiful Prose and Yearning

Another day, another sapphic book!

Last year, I fell in love with the YA fantasy Crier’s War. It had everything I wanted in a book: slowburn enemies to lovers f/f, compelling characters, and absolutely stunning writing. I’m so excited to have been able to read the sequel Iron Heart and be reviewing it today! If you’re eagerly awaiting this book after having read the first one, or interested in this series (especially with their gorgeous covers), I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you so much to Shealea for making it possible for me to have received an ARC of this book and be a part of this blog tour!

There are no spoilers for Iron Heart in this review, and though I tried my best to keep every reference I made to the events of Crier’s War vague, they may be viewed as spoilers, so take care!

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review: Iron Heart by Nina Varela // Beautiful Prose and Yearning”

The Fourth Annual 2020 Book Blogger Awards: Winners!

Today, I’m very excited to present the winners of the 2020 Book Blogger Awards!

It brings us the utmost pleasure to be able to host these awards and recognize, in some way, the hard work, time, effort, and passion of book bloggers. So many incredible people in this community are overlooked, and we love that with these awards, we can bring just a tiny bit of appreciation and support for them. People telling us they found new blogs to read or some of their favorite bloggers through these awards makes us so happy—and we hope that you will continue to find new, amazing blogs because of them.

Of course, feelings of being left out or not enough are inevitable. Please remember that no matter what, your voice always, always matters, whether or not you were nominated/won. These awards are just one way to recognize and uplift book bloggers and are not the end-all, be-all of a blogging career, especially since these awards take place in one corner of the book blogging world. (And there’s always next year!)

Continue reading “The Fourth Annual 2020 Book Blogger Awards: Winners!”